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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

NHL News: Lightning face Jets, look for more home success

NHL News: Lightning face Jets, look for more home success


The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to pad their already impressive record at Amalie Arena on Sunday night when they conclude a four-game homestand against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Lightning answered a five-game winless skid (0-4-1) by improving to 2-0-1 on their current stretch at home.

Brayden Point capped a two-goal performance by scoring with one minute remaining in the third period of Tampa Bay’s 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Point has 11 goals in his past 11 games to boost his career-high total to 43 tallies this season for the Lightning, who boast a 24-5-5 record at home.

Former Hart Trophy recipient Nikita Kucherov notched an assist by setting up Point’s second goal of the night to extend his franchise-record home point streak to 24 games.

“(Point’s) been the straw that stirred the drink many nights,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “He and (Kucherov) have such chemistry, and they’re a dynamic group together. Just look at the play they made at the end on the winning goal. You put Point in that spot, and more often than not he’s going to finish.”

While the Lightning gave the home fans a thrill, captain Steven Stamkos gave them a scare after exiting Saturday’s game late in the first period with a left-leg injury. Cooper, however, expressed a bit of optimism about his star’s health after the contest.

“I think he’s going to be OK,” Cooper said of Stamkos, who is Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in goals (508) and points (1,038). “We just kept him out for precaution. We’ll check him out tomorrow, but we’re hopeful he’ll be OK.”

Like Point, Mark Scheifele of the Jets capped a two-goal performance with the game-winning tally Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

Scheifele boosted his team-leading goal total to 38 on the season after scoring 4:31 into overtime to lift the Jets to a 5-4 victory.

“The last two games, we thought we played really well and didn’t get rewarded with the win,” Scheifele said. “It was a big win, and that’s just the way the game of hockey works, and now we’ve just got to go on to the next one.”

Scheifele notched two assists in Winnipeg’s 4-2 triumph over Tampa Bay on Jan. 6.

Former Lightning first-round draft pick Vladislav Namestnikov collected two goals and an assist Saturday, and Nikolaj Ehlers had one and two, respectively. Kyle Connor notched three assists for the Jets, who are just 2-5-2 in their past nine games.

“We’ll take a win any time we can get it, any way we can get it,” Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness said. “I think a lot of our problems tonight were self-inflicted with puck management. That really hurt us. We spent some unnecessary time in our zone. The good news is we scored the five goals, which was huge.”

Also like Tampa Bay, Winnipeg was hit by injuries on Saturday.

Defenseman Josh Morrissey and center Adam Lowry exited the game in the third period due to reported lower-body injuries, with Bowness deeming both players as “very, very doubtful” for Sunday’s game.

–Field Level Media

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