Winnepeg Jets: Postgame Reactions to Overtime Defeat of Tampa Bay Lightning

Anthony CapocciContributor IFebruary 2, 2012

Blake Wheeler leads all Jets in points with 35.
Blake Wheeler leads all Jets in points with 35.Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets took the ice in Tampa Bay, trailing just five points behind the Florida Panthers for the Southeast Division lead.

The red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning controlled the majority of the play in regulation. They entered tonight's action on a five-game winning streak, trailing the Jets by just four points in the Eastern Conference standings.

Blake Wheeler started the scoring with his 10th goal of the season. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman scored the only other goal in regulation.

A four-point divisional game turned into a three-point game, as both teams were unable to put an end to it in regulation.

In the overtime period, the Jets had their best chances of the game. Kyle Wellwood capitalized on a beautiful pass from Wheeler that gave the Jets a much-needed victory to keep hope alive.

The Jets struggled throughout regulation with little scoring opportunities, and they were hardly able to develop anything offensively. When they did gain zone time, it usually resulted in one-and-done chances.

Wheeler finished the game with a multi-point performance, which widens his point lead to 35. He is on pace to break his career high of 45 points, which he set back during his rookie season.

Ondrej Pavelec was able to keep his team in it once again with another brilliant performance in goal.

Dustin Byfuglien made his long-awaited return to the lineup and logged a total of 25:36 time on the ice, leading all defensemen in that category.

Byfuglien made himself noticeable, as he wasn't hesitant to join the rush—something the Jets missed and will surely need to jump-start the offense. He also wasn't shy to shoot.

Alex Burmistrov also made his return to the lineup, but he is still being misused by head coach Claude Noel. Burmistrov recorded 11:27 of ice time and assumed a position in the bottom six.

The Jets didn't play their best hockey, but were fortunate to hang in long enough to give themselves an opportunity.

The Jets are right back in action tomorrow night in Florida—a matchup that could very well predict the fate of either team.

The latter part of back-to-back games haven't been kind to the Jets. To say the least, they'll have to find a way to break that trend tomorrow.