JETBLAST: WINNIPEG @ PITTSBURGH

og-WINPIT

JETBLAST

Winnipeg Jets (19-20-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (30-12-1) 12:00 p.m., Consol Energy Center TV: TSNJets, ROOT Sports Radio: TSN 1290

After a tough road game in Boston the Jets travel to the only place where it is harder to win in the Eastern Conference. The Pittsburgh Penguins welcome the Jets to the Console Energy Center and put their Eastern Conference leading record on the line. This will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season, the only one in Pittsburgh. This is definitely a huge test for the Winnipeg Jets, who could be easy pickings for the top ranked Penguins coming off a back to back. What is sure to be a very interesting game comes up at noon Sunday, Lets Go!

Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins when healthy may be the best team in the NHL. Even unhealthy, with nearly 10 regulars out of the lineup including a top forward in Evgeni Malkin and top defenseman Kris Letang, they still are at the top of the Eastern Conference. December has been especially fruitful for the Penguins, going 11-3 the Pens have been near unbeatable, and scary to think how it would go if they get healthy. Obviously leading the Pens is the best player in the world, Sidney Crosby. Crosby, along with his line mate Chris Kunitz, each have 7 points in their last 3 games, and are among the most lethal duos in the whole league. The real strength of this team comes on special teams. The Pens rank top 5 in both categories and once again this is without some of the main parts of both units. The Penguins are one of the biggest challenges in the league for any team, and are perennial cup favourites. This will be a big test for the Winnipeg Jets.

Jets

For the second game in a row the Jets may feel like they deserved a better fate. For long stretches of the game Winnipeg controlled the puck in the Bruins zone, forcing turnovers, and getting chances. However they were unable to convert and found themselves on the short end of a 4-1 hockey game. The Jets had a couple bad bounces in their own end and were just plain beaten a few times, and the Bruins converted. It gets no easier for the Jets who will look to salvage at least a couple points off this road swing, but on the second end of a back to back it will not be easy. After playing Ondrej Pavelec in Boston Saturday afternoon, the Jets will most likely look back to Al Montoya, who will start his 4th of the Jets last 5. After a 3 game win streak the Jets now stare a 3 game losing streak straight in the face.

Keys to the Game

Discipline: The Penguins have the 2nd best powerplay in the league and giving Sidney Crosby more time and space is never a good thing. Be smart and stay out of the box or the Pens will make you pay.

Goalie Al: The Jets are bound to be a little fatigued and you can bet the Pens will take advantage and get some chances. Montoya needs to come up with some huge saves and keep the Jets in this game.

Solve the puzzle: Winnipeg has done everything but score in their last few games. They need to finish some of these plays off and put some crooked numbers up on the board.

Starting Goalies

Al Montoya (8-3-1) GAA: 2.02 SV% .929
Marc-Andre Fleury (23-10-1) GAA: 2.15 SV% .921

Injuries

Slater WPG, (Sports Hernia) out
Postma WPG, (blood clot) out
Halischuk WPG, (arm) out
Clitsome WPG, (illness) out

Conner PIT, (hand) out
Dupuis PT, (torn ACL) out
Megna PIT, (lower body) out
Malkin PIT, (lower body) out
Letang PIT, (upper body) out
Ebbett PIT, (broken ankle) out
Martin PIT, (fractured tibia) out
Bennett PIT, (wrist) out
Vokoun PIT, (blood clot) out

Last 10 (W-L-OTL)

Jets: 5-5-0
Penguins: 8-2-0

Prediction

Penguins to much
Prnguins 5 Jets 2

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Diehard Winnipeg sports fan. Agree or disagree with something I wrote? Find me on twitter @seantheoilcan and let me know Go Jets Go!