PENS GAME #23: PENGUINS AT JETS
The Penguins are clawing their way back up the standings and have a 2-game, back-to-back road jaunt next up on the agenda to Winnipeg & Colorado in search of more wins and points.
Pittsburgh Penguins (9-8-5) at Winnipeg Jets (13-7-2) at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Mantoba at 8PM (EST)
After a statement win vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, the solidifying Pens will try to take flight against one of the West's best teams early this season in the Winnipeg Jets.
While the Pens' aim is to continue coming together as one to gather the wins and points the desperately need, the young and hungry Jets will be aiming to make a big splash against the Penguins' established talent.
Pittsburgh is certainly in the less desirable position when comparing these clubs' performances this season. And as Winnipeg has been hanging around the top of the the Western Conference standings from the start, they'll be a good measuring bar for the Pens to assess themselves against. The Penguins have started to put together what looks like the components for an improved team on ice, and this match-up provides them a good chance to really prove that they bettered themselves in recent weeks.
Another not of interest here is the fact that both teams have young guns really making some noise and going on tears recently. The Penguins' Jake Guentzel put up 3 goals his last game. The Jets' Patrik Laine did him 2 better, scoring a whopping 5Gs his last outing.
So much talent is abundant in these two teams, we could be treated to a very memorable show tonight.
To the details...
PENS BULLET POINTS
MATCH-UP INFORMATIONAL BREAKDOWN
Casey DeSmith (PIT): 27-years-old, 6’0”/181lb, 1 year NHL Veteran, Undrafted
(Records- 2018-19: 5W-3L-3OTL in 14GP; Last Season: 6W-4L-1OTL in 14GP; Career: 11W-7L-4OTL in 28GP | Goals Against Average- 2018-19: 2.35, Last Season: 2.40; Career: 2.38)
Connor Hellebuyck (WPG): 25-years-old, 6'4"/207lb, 3 year NHL Veteran, 2012 Round 5 Draft Pick
(Records- 2018-19: 9W-6L-1OTL in 17GP; Last Season: 44W-11L-9OTL in 67GP; Career: 92W-47L-15OTL in 166GP | Goals Against Average- 2018-19: 2.91; Last Season: 2.36; Career: 2.58)
Penguins: 23 Points, Metropolitan Division- 6th, Eastern Conference- 11th
Jets: 28 Points, Central Division- 4th, Western Conference- 5th
Penguins: 1 Win
Jets: 1 Win
Goals For & Against:
Penguins: Goals For- 74; Goals Against- 71
Jets: Goals For- 74; Goals Against- 62
Home vs. Away Records:
Penguins Away Record: 4-3-3
Jets Home Record: 8-2-2
Team Physical Averages:
Penguins: Average Size- 6'1"/199lbs, Average Age- 28.04
Jets: Average Size- 6'2"/202lbs, Average Age- 25.30
Penguins Alumni for WPG: Joe Morrow.
Jets Alumni for PIT: None
WPG Locals for Penguins: None
PIT Locals for Jets: None
-Goals- #1-Guentzel (11), #2- Kessel (10), #3- Malkin/Crosby/Hornqvist (9)
-Assists- #1-Malkin (21), #2-Kessel (17), #3-Crosby (15)
-Points- #1-Malkin (30), #2-Kessel (27), #3- Crosby (24)
-Shots- #1-Letang (72), #2-Kessel/Hornqvist (67), #3-Guentzel (57)
-Goals- #1-Laine (19), #2-Scheifele (11), #3-Connor (10)
-Assists- #1-Wheeler (23), #2-Byfuglien (15), #3-Connor (14)
-Points- #1-Wheeler (27), #2-Scheifele/Connor (24), #3-Laine (22)
-Shots- #1-Laine (90), #2-Connor (64), #3-Wheeler (60)
-Penguins vs. Jets History-
Cup Count: Pens- 5, Jets- 0
Season Series vs. Jets: 0-0, First game
Last Season Series vs. Jets: 1W-1L (With 3 Goals For, 8 Goals Against)
All-Time Record vs. Jets: 46W-12L-0T-3OTL in 61GP
All-Time Record of Pens at Bell MTS Place: 5W-4L-0OTL in 9GP
[Based on last game lines, practice lines, announced line-up changes, etc.]
Guentzel | Crosby | Simon
Pearson | Malkin | Kessel
Aston-Reese | Brassard | Rust
Wilson | Grant | Sheahan
Dumoulin | Letang
Maatta | Riikola
Johnson | Oleksiak
S: DeSmith | B: Jarry
[Scratches: Chad Ruhwedel, Daniel Sprong | Injured: Matt Cullen (Lower Body Injury, IR), Patric Hornqvist (Concussion), Matt Murray (Lower Body Injury, IR), Justin Schultz (Fractured Leg, IR).]
CURRENT PERFORMANCE HIGHS/STREAKS
-Sidney Crosby has points in 5 of his last 6 games and goals in 3 of his last 6 played. (Stretching back pre-injury to 11/13.)
-Jake Guentzel has goals in 3 of the last 4 games, goals in 3 of the last 7 games, and points in 5 of the last 8 games.
-Jack Johnson has points in 2 of the last 5 games.
-Phil Kessel has a 8 game point streak.
-Kris Letang has a 3 game point streak and points in 5 of the last 6 games.
-Evgeni Malkin has a 7 game point streak, goals in 2 of the last 3 games, and 2-point games in 3 of the last 6 games.
-Tanner Pearson has goals in 3 of the last 4 games and 3 goals in his first 5 games as a Penguin.
FINAL NOTES ON THE GAME
-Pens Roster Moves: Derek Grant (Undisclosed) is expected to return from injury to play tonight. Daniel Sprong is the anticipated healthy scratch with Grant's return.
-And Casey DeSmith will start in net tonight and Tristan Jarry is expected to start tomorrow vs. Colorado, which will be his 2nd appearance of the season.
-Milestones Reached: Kris Letang becomes Penguins' all-time leading defenseman in games played at 704.
-Milestone Watch: Hat-trick boy Jake Guentzel is now just 1 point from 100 career points after his offensive outpouring vs. Columbus. It would not be surprising to see him reach that mark tonight vs. the Jets. Additionally, Olli Maatta is still just 1 point from 100 career points.
-Guentzel, by the way, is also the Pens' new team leader goals now with 11 after his 3-goal game on Saturday. In that 1 game he jumped 2 spots as well as 4 Pens players in the goal stats- Crosby, Malkin, and Hornqvist who were tied at 2nd with 9 goals each and Phil Kessel, the prior leader, with 10 goals.
-The Pens are 0-5 in their last 5 road games.
-As well as 14-3 in their last 17 games vs. the Western Conference.
-Meanwhile the Jets are 19-7 in their last 26 games vs. the Eastern Conference.
-The Jets have allowed 14 goals in their last 3 games.
-Jet Kyle Connor, one of their leading forwards, is actually a local tri-state hockey product as his youth team was the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL.
EXTRA MISC. THOUGHTS & INFO
*The Flyers have fired General Manager Ron Hextall and named Flyers executive and former GM Paul Holmgren in his place. Holmgren was the engineer of the capricious Flyers teams' the Pens faced to much success from 2006-2014. Including their trouncing of Philly in back-to-back years in the playoffs in 2008 and 2009 on the way to the Penguins' consecutive Stanley Cup Finals' appearances.
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