The Winnipeg Jets find themselves in the midst of a five-game losing streak.
That disappointing skid, however, pales in comparison to the franchise’s recent struggles against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Jets try to avoid a 13th consecutive defeat to the Lightning as the teams meet Monday night at the MTS Centre.
Winnipeg (5-9-3), which ranks in the bottom third of the league with 2.47 goals per game, saw its scoring woes continue with Saturday’s 2-1 loss at NHL-worst Columbus. The Jets fell behind 2-0 before defenseman Mark Stuart(notes) scored with 3:45 remaining.
“Our guys played OK, but we didn’t play as smart as we need to play,” coach Claude Noel said. “We’ve got to be better at managing the game. It gets frustrating.”
Ondrej Pavelec(notes) has started each game of Winnipeg’s 0-3-2 skid, during which it has been outscored 19-10 while converting just 2 of its 20 power-play opportunities. The Jets haven’t dropped six in a row since March 6-14, 2010, when the team was located in Atlanta.
Winnipeg also failed to generate any offense during a 1-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Oct. 29 - its 12th straight loss to the Lightning (8-6-2). Tampa Bay has outscored the Jets 41-21 during the NHL’s longest current winning streak by one team over another.
The Lightning had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 3-0 loss at St. Louis on Saturday. Coach Guy Boucher’s team managed a season-low 19 shots in falling to 2-5-2 over its last nine road games.
The Lightning have averaged 2.6 goals on the road, a similar scoring pace to last season when it went 21-14-6 outside Tampa. The defense, though, has yielded 3.89 goals per game thus far after allowing 3.10 per contest in 2010-11.
“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. 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 told the Lightning’s official website. “I’ve changed the pregame routine, shuffled the lines, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, I’ve done it all. We’re going to have to find another way.”
Mathieu Garon(notes) made 21 saves against the Blues, dropping to 1-2-1 with a 4.17 goals-against average over his five most recent starts away from home. Garon, though, is 5-0-0 with a 0.80 GAA lifetime against the Thrashers/Jets franchise - his lowest career mark against any team.
Dwayne Roloson(notes) has also fared extremely well versus Atlanta/Winnipeg, posting a 10-0-1 record with one tie and a 2.49 GAA. He turned away all 28 shots in last month’s meeting, during which Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier(notes) scored the only goal.
Lecavalier has thrived in this series over his career, notching 67 points in as many games. He’s also tallied 31 goals - tied for his highest total against any opponent.
Since winning his first two career starts against Tampa Bay, Pavelec has gone 0-4-4 against the Lightning despite a 2.64 GAA.
The Jets have killed all 10 of their opponents’ chances on the man advantage during their two home wins. They have, in contrast, surrendered five power-play goals on 14 chances in losing their other three there.
The Lightning have converted just two of their last 29 power-play opportunities on the road.