Winnipeg Jets 4 Tampa Bay Lightning 3 (Shootout) – There was plenty of nail biting at MTS Centre as the Jets were unable to hold onto a 3-1 second period lead in a very good, entertaining hockey game against the Lightning on Tuesday. The Jets ultimately pulled off the win in a shootout and are now tied with the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot in the East, but the Rangers do have a game in hand.
Washington remains four points up on the Jets for top spot in the Southeast. The Jets have now won the first four games on the six-game home stand, their first four-game winning streak of the season.
Again it was the top line that provided the offence for Winnipeg. Andrew Ladd opened the scoring at the 1:23 mark with Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little picking up assists, and as a result all three extend their respective point streaks. Ladd also extended his goal scoring streak to three games and it was the third time this season he has scored the first goal of the game.
The Jets have now scored the first goal in four of their last five games. Martin St. Louis tied the game for Tampa Bay at 10:27 and that is the way the first period ended.
The second period was again a good period for the Jets. Two unanswered goals has them outscoring the opponent 12-0 in the second period over the last four games. Blake Wheeler (16) gave the Jets the lead and Ladd (18) added a power-play marker to make it a 3-1 game after 40 minutes. The Jets out shot the Lightning 11-4 in the second.
The Lightning lead the league in third period goals though and they were at it again on Tuesday. Pierre-Cedric Labrie (a former Manitoba Moose player) notched his second of the year to pull Tampa to within one, and then Steve Stamkos (27) tied the game. Stamkos has now scored in seven straight games against the Jets and has points in 13 straight, going back to the when the team was till in Atlanta.
Overtime did not produce a winner so the teams went to a shootout. It was the Jets fourth shootout of the season, (1-2), the last one a 10-rounder in Toronto. Mike Santorelli and Andrew Ladd scored for the Jets, while Ondrej Pavelec stopped the first two shooters to give the Jets the win.
The top line has now combined for 23 points over the past four games (Ladd 4-5-9, Wheeler 2-5-7, and Little 1-6-7). Ladd and Wheeler each had three point games while Zach Bogosian chipped in with two assists. It was the 10th time in his career that Ladd has had a three point game and the eighth time for Wheeler. Kyle Wellwood had his point streak snapped at five games.
The Jets home stand continues Thursday against Carolina (TSN Jets and TSN 1290), and concludes Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders (TSN Jets and TSN 1290).
"I liked the effort," said Jets coach Claude Noel post game. "We came out good after the four days off."
As for the play of Ladd, "he drives the bus. He was a very effective player."
On Santorelli being the second shooter, "we did our homework on him. He's going along at about a 50 percent clip in the shootout. But he's always been a scorer. He has played well for us. Hit a cross bar tonight."
For Santorelli this was his first shootout attempt this year and in his career he has now scored on 10 of his 19 opportunities. Coach Noel was very impressed with the Santorelli, Eric Tangradi, Alexander Burmistrov line. "They were outstanding, really good. Good chemistry, good in both ends of the ice. It was one of the best games I have seen Burmistrov play."