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St. Louis, Bolts try to stay hot vs. Jets

With Martin St. Louis heating up to serve as a scoring compliment to Steven Stamkos, the Lightning seem poised to make a run at a playoff spot.

Tampa Bay continues that quest tonight and looks to reestablish its dominance over the visiting Winnipeg Jets, who look to get to .500 on their six-game road trip.

Stamkos is once again leading the league in goals scored, having notched 33 so far on the season. He has 13 tallies over his past 15 games, including three game-winners, and is a big reason that the Lightning are averaging nearly three goals per game.

Vincent Lecavalier is second on the Lightning with 19 goals, but it is St. Louis who has been red-hot as of late. He has scored in three straight games while logging four consecutive two-point games and 12 points over a seven-game point streak. St. Louis tallied in Tuesday's 4-3 victory over Washington and assisted on Stamkos' winner at the 2:45 mark of the extra frame.

St. Louis took a feed from Stamkos and stuffed the puck on net. Stamkos was there to put in the rebound, sending Tampa Bay to its season-high fifth straight win.

"Marty was there with a lot of speed and beat his guy to the net," said Stamkos. "He got it on net and I got a generous rebound and put it in."

Teddy Purcell and Nate Thompson added goals and Mathieu Garon made 26 saves for the Lightning, who have climbed to within nine points of a playoff spot. The Bolts are also nine points behind Florida for first place in the Southeast Division.

Tampa Bay is looking to win six straight for the first time since Jan. 18-Feb. 1 of last year and has won seven of its past 10 at home, where it plays the third of five straight this evening.

The Lightning had won 12 in a row over the Jets franchise before Winnipeg logged a 5-2 home win on Nov. 14, beating the Bolts for the first time since Oct. 3, 2009 when it was still known as the Atlanta Thrashers.

The Jets haven't won at Tampa Bay since March 21, 2009, losing their past seven trips there. That doesn't make Tampa an ideal place for Winnipeg to continue its six-game road trip, which began with setbacks at the Hurricanes and Rangers before Tuesday's 2-1 shootout triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bryan Little scored the only shootout goal in the session's third round, while Ondrej Pavelec made 27 saves before halting all three skaters faced in the deciding frame. Winnipeg had lost its last three overall and picked up just its fourth victory in 13 games, leaving the squad five points back of a postseason position.

"It is a huge two points for us," said Pavelec. "It's a really tough team to play against. They have some big guys in the lineup. These next couple games are going to be huge for us, especially on the road."

Chris Thorburn scored Winnipeg's regulation goal, his first since March 19 of last year.

"I haven't had that feeling in a while and I'll tell you what, there's not many feelings like that. I actually turned to the corner for my celebration and no one came to me. I kind of felt odd, but it was great," said Thorburn with a laugh.

The Jets still have road games versus the Panthers and Canadiens on tap for this swing and have won just three of their past nine on the road.