Preview: Jets at Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins secured their first victory of the season with a seven-goal outburst Saturday, but the news is not all good entering Tuesday’s home matchup with the Winnipeg Jets. Center Evgeni Malkin left Saturday’s 7-2 triumph over Columbus after he was knocked into the boards, did not practice Monday, and coach Mike Sullivan told reporters following the workout that Malkin and fellow center Nick Bjugstad could be sidelined “longer term.”
Center Jared McCann helped mitigate the absence of Malkin and Bjugstad on Saturday, responding with two goals and an assist while finishing plus-3 in 15:43 of ice time as Pittsburgh shook off a disappointing 3-1 home loss to Buffalo on Thursday. The Jets already-thin defensive depth suffered another blow in warmups before Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at the Islanders as Josh Morrissey was scratched with an upper-body injury. Morrissey, though, practiced Monday - a welcomed sign for a defensive corps that has surrendered 14 goals through three games - but defenseman Dmitry Kulikov did not skate. An interesting development is occurring in Winnipeg’s goal where starter Connor Hellebuyck, who surrendered five goals on 31 shots in Thursday’s season-opening 6-4 loss at the Rangers, did not play Sunday in favor of backup Laurent Brossoit.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TSN3 (Winnipeg), AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
ABOUT THE JETS (1-2-0): Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice moved forward Patrik Laine onto the top line Sunday, and it paid off as the 21-year-old netted his first goal after picking up an assist in each of the first two games. Neal Pionk and 18-year-old Ville Heinola had to pick up extra minutes defensively with Morrissey scratched, each defenseman playing more than 23 minutes while finishing a combined minus-2. Brossoit, who gave up four goals before settling down in Friday’s 5-4 shootout win at New Jersey, gave up three goals on 19 shots in the second period as the Islanders took control.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (1-1-0): Center Sidney Crosby registered two assists Saturday and has three through two games as the 100-point scorer from a year ago seeks his first goal. The Penguins, who Sullivan chastised for their lack of execution against Buffalo, blew open Saturday’s game as forward Patric Hornqvist netted his first two goals and center Alex Galchenyuk added a pair of assists. Matt Murray stopped 28-of-30 shots on goal against the Blue Jackets two nights after stopping 38 shots against Buffalo.
1. Jets D Carl Dahlstrom, claimed last week off waivers from Chicago, entered Sunday’s lineup for Morrissey and played 19:49 in his Winnipeg debut.
2. McCann has scored 13 goals in 34 regular-season games since the Penguins acquired him from Florida last season.
3. The Penguins scored four goals in each of their two games against the Jets last season, sweeping the season series.
PREDICTION: Penguins 4, Jets 2