The Winnipeg Jets return to action Thursday evening putting a three game win streak on the line against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens have a streak of their own going however, winning 5 in a row, and 8 of 11 this year. This will be the toughest test the Jets have had all season, Pittsburgh is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, and is all around good. Front end to back the Pens are possibly the most skilled team in the league. In the past Winnipeg has had some mixed results against the Penguins, though they have stolen a couple games, they have had trouble keeping Pittsburghs big guns off the board and have been thoroughly handled by Pittsburgh more times than not. Both teams look to extend winning streaks, Lets Go!
Pittsburgh came in today with slightly lower expectations than they have had in the past, at least lower considering they have the best player in the world on their team. Lower expectations have not stopped the Pens from winning however as a couple weeks into the season Pittsburgh finds themselves at the top of the Conference, same story, different chapter. Pittsburgh is good all around the ice which makes them so dangerous, the D is good, Marc-Andre Fleury has flashes of being one of the best, and the skill up front is out of this world. Everyone knows Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, possibly two of the most offensively talented players this league has ever seen. Combined with Chris Kunitz, new comer Patrick Hornqvist, and a host of others this is a dangerous, dangerous team. Pittsburgh attacks with every shift and will not give you time to breathe, if you let them control the play they will dominate any game.
The Jets have played different games throughout this season but it appears they have at least something figured out. While the Offense still cannot score, the Defense has picked up their play in a big way. The Jets are allowing far fewer chances, and odd man rushes have become increasing rarities in games for Winnipeg. When the chances have come though, and the break downs do happen, the goaltenders have been brilliant. Between Ondrej Pavelec, and Michael Hutchinsons performance in New York, the Jets have arrived at a place where they can count on their goaltenders to bail them out, and this has helped Winnipeg play with more confidence. The offense they are getting is coming at key times. One of the main contributors over the last few games has been Andrew Ladd. Ladd has led his team as he is supposed to as the captain, he is going to the dirty spots and finally seems to be getting rewarded for it. Winnipeg will continue to win if they can dictate the play and start generating some more goals.
Slow the Game Down: The Pens have far to much skill for the Jets to run and gun with them, and doing that has gotten the Jets killed a few different times when these teams have met. The Jets need to keep it slow and avoid giving the Pens big guns too many chances
Keep the Streak: The Jets have not won 4 straight since January 13th – January 21st of last season, they need to be able to do it more often if they’re going to make the playoffs.
Get to Fleury: The goalie who just inked a 4 year extension worth nearly 6 million a year already has 3 shutouts, but Fleury has only two speeds. Great, or terrible, Pens fans have seen both, if the Jets can get to him and get there early they have a chance, but if not they will be in for a long night offensively.
Ondrej Pavelec (6-4-1) GAA: 2.01 SV% .924
Marc-Andre Fleury (7-2-0) GAA: 1.89 SV% .931
Peluso, WPG, (UBI) day-to-day
Maatta, PIT, (Thyroid Surgery) day-to-day
Jets keep game close, Pens are to much though
Penguins 4 Jets 2
Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.