It’s another day without blue-liner Zach Bogosian as the Winnipeg Jets resume an eight-game homestand with a game on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Both teams are playing well right now, the Jets 3-0-1 and the Lightning riding a three-game winning streak and 10-3-2 over their past 15 games.
Both teams remain in the playoff picture as only five points separate them and the Lightning hold three games in hand.
This is the fourth meeting of the season between the two clubs, with the Jets holding a 2-1 lead on the strength of an OT win at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Feb. 2 that featured the first OT goal of Kyle Wellwood’s career.
It will be interesting to see how the Jets respond to a tough 5-4 OT loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that saw them give up a goal with 10.8 seconds left in regulation and 43.6 seconds left in extra time.
The Jets can’t waste any time worrying about what might have been. They’ve got 20 games left in the regular season and they’ll need a strong finish to get back 65 to the 90 or 92 points that most believe are required to qualify for the playoffs.
Bogosian will miss his fifth consecutive game with an undisclosed upper-body injury and while head coach Claude Noel said he was considering Mark Flood and going with 11 forwards and 7 D-men, we expect Antti Miettinen is going to replace Eric Fehr on the fourth line instead.
Here’s how we expect both teams to start Thursday’s game:
Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane-Alex Burmistrov-Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass-Jim Slater-Chris Thorburn
Tim Stapleton-Nik Antropov-Antti Miettinen
Toby Enstrom-Dustin Byguflien
Ron Hainsey-Johnny Oduya
Mark Stuart-Randy Jones
Ondrej Pavelec (Chris Mason)
Tampa Bay Lightning
Martin St. Louis-Steven Stamkos-Teddy Purcell
Ryan Malone-Nate Thompson-Adam Hall
Tom Pyatt-Brett Connolly-Ryan Shannon
J.T. Wyman-Trevor Smith-Mike Angelidis
Eric Brewer-Victor Hedman
Brett Clark-Matt Gilroy
Brendan Mikkelson-Bruno Gervais
Mathieu Garon (Dwayne Roloson)