Lightning at Jets game preview
Game time: 8 p.m.
TV: Sun Sports
If the Tampa Bay Lightning are to end their losing streak to the Winnipeg Jets and record a winning road trip, they might need to do so without one of the league’s top goaltenders.
It’s uncertain if Ben Bishop will be available Tuesday night when the Lightning try to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat to the Jets, who hope to bounce back from a rough trip by winning their fourth straight at home.
After taking the first two on a four-game trip through Canada, Tampa Bay’s five-game road winning streak ended with a 5-3 loss to Edmonton on Sunday. Though the Lightning (25-13-4) lost for the third time in 10 games, the bigger concern could be the health of Bishop.
At 22-5-3 with a 1.86 goals-against average, Bishop was in the midst of an 8-0-2 stretch and coming off his fourth shutout when he left a 1-1 game early Sunday because of a hand injury.
"I don’t think it’s going to be major serious," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "I hope not anyway. But if it is, then (backup Anders Lindback) is a proven goaltender in the league."
Lindback, 3-8-1 with a 3.21 GAA, allowed four goals on 25 shots against the Oilers.
The Lightning had allowed five goals in their previous four road contests before the lowly Oilers took control of a game tied at 3 after two periods.
Defenseman Victor Hedman scored one of the Lightning’s two second-period goals that helped them overcome a 3-1 hole.
"We were carrying the momentum going into the third. It’s obviously frustrating that we didn’t play better in the third," said Hedman, who has two goals and five assists in eight games since he missed six with a lower-body injury.
"That’s not the way we wanted to come out of this."
The Lightning will shift their focus toward bouncing back against Winnipeg (19-21-5), which has won by one goal each time during its four-game run in the series. The Jets took the first meeting this season 2-1 in overtime at Tampa on Dec. 7.
Tampa Bay is 1-3-1 at Winnipeg since the Jets relocated from Atlanta.
It’s been all or nothing at home of late for the Jets, who won four straight there Nov. 4-15, then suffered through an 0-3-3 home slide before taking the last three by a 14-6 goal margin.
Winnipeg is looking to regroup after allowing 14 goals during an 0-3-0 trip. The Jets were unable to hold a 2-0 first-period lead and a one-goal advantage after two in a wild 6-5 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
"It was a disappointing game," coach Claude Noel said. "You’ve got to focus and manage every shift and can’t have a breakdown. For us, it’s important to play the right way. These things work themselves out."
With two goals and an assist Sunday, Winnipeg’s Evander Kane has totaled eight of his 14 goals in his last 14 contests. However, he’s been held without a point in four straight against Tampa Bay.
Teammate Blake Wheeler, who scored his team-leading 16th goal Sunday, had one with an assist against the Lightning last month. He’s recorded a goal and seven assists in his last four home games versus Tampa Bay.