It's been more than two years since the Winnipeg franchise game losing streak in this series tonight at MTS Centre.
The Jets were formerly the Atlanta Thrashers until moving back to Manitoba, Canada during this past offseason and haven't tasted victory against Tampa Bay since a 6-3 triumph on Oct. 3, 2009. Winnipeg has lost 14 of the previous 19 meetings between the teams and is winless in five straight as the host.
Tampa Bay recorded a 1-0 win over the Jets on Oct. 29 this season at St. Pete Times Forum, as Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson stopped 28 shots for his first shutout of the season and 29th of his career. Vincent Lecavalier scored the lone goal of the game, while Ondrej Pavelec made 26 saves in defeat.
The Lightning haven't played a regular season game in Winnipeg since Oct. 17, 1995.
Winnipeg is riding a five-game winless streak (0-3-2) and suffered a 2-1 setback at Columbus the last time out on Saturday. Pavelec turned aside 25 shots in his ninth straight game between the pipes and Mark Stuart tallied a shorthanded goal for the Jets, who finished with a 36-27 advantage in shots.
"I don't think we played as smart as we needed to play," Jets head coach Claude Noel said. "We're just a young team."
Noel's squad is kicking off a three-game homestand Monday versus Tampa Bay. Washington and Philadelphia, and sports a 2-3-0 mark as the host this season. Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has posted five points (1g, 4a) during his team's five-game losing streak and is second among all blueliners with a team- best 58 shots on net.
Tampa Bay had a three-game winning streak stopped at St. Louis on Saturday in the opener of a quick two-game road trip. Mathieu Garon made 21 saves on 24 shots in the 3-0 loss and is expected to sit tonight in favor of Roloson.
"We weren't as sharp as we needed to be tonight," said Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, who leads all defensemen with 16 points.
The Lightning suffered their first shutout of the season. Lecavalier enters tonight with points in eight of his past 11 games for Tampa Bay, which notched a season-low 19 shots against the Blues. Tampa has still won seven of its last 10 contests and its goaltenders have fared well in their careers against Winnipeg. Roloson is 10-0-1 with a 2.49 GAA in his career against Winnipeg/Atlanta, while Mathieu Garon sports a 5-0-0 ledger with a 0.80 GAA.
Since October 17, Tampa Bay is 3-0-0 in games immediately following a loss. After tonight's game the Lightning will return to central Florida for a three- game residency versus Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Toronto. Tampa head coach Guy Boucher probably can't wait to return to the Sunshine State.
"This is getting to be very disappointing. We were a terrific road team last year and we played hard and we showed up every single night," Boucher said. "So far this season it's been the opposite. We're outstanding at home, we don't give anything to anyone, but then we get on the road and we get down by two or three goals, usually in the first period."
Boucher's club is just 3-5-2 as the guest in 2011-12.