The Pittsburgh Penguins (3-2-0) face their first of 17 back-to-back challenges Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets (4-2-0) at Bell MTS Place. The Penguins meet Winnipeg for the second time in the past five days. Winnipeg beat the Penguins on Tuesday, 4-1. Both teams played Saturday and won. The Penguins will need to stifle any late surgest which have thus far defined Winnipeg’s season.
Winnipeg has trailed in all six games and has come back to win four of those games, which leads the NHL in wins when trailing.
Penguins backup goalie Tristan Jarry will make his first start of the season for the Penguins. Laurent Brossoit starts in net for Winnipeg. Brossoit has allowed four goals in each of his two starts, posting a .889 SV% during that time.
The Penguins received a boost from rookie point production in a 7-4 victory against Minnesota, Saturday night. The Penguins opened the scoring with a first-period power-play goal by Patric Hornqvist (3). Hornqvist redirected a shot-pass from Justin Schultz with less than five minutes left in the period. Sidney Crosby assisted on the goal to extend his point streak to five games.
The Pittsburgh Penguins dominated the second period with a four-goal outburst. The season is still in its infant stages, but the Penguins have scored an NHL-best 11 of their 18 goals in the second period. Sidney Crosby started the quartet of scores with a backhand breakaway goal to stretch his team’s lead to two. Minnesota responded 18 seconds later with a Jason Zucker (2) tip on the power play. The goal cut the lead to one but also set the high water mark for Minnesota in the game. The Penguins erupted for three goals in three minutes, including Adam Johnson’s first NHL goal. Hollidaysburg’s Sam Lafferty scored the first point of his NHL career by assisting on the goal. Minnesota defender Jared Spurgeon (1) scored his first goal of the year late in the period to cut the lead to three.
Minnesota made the third period interesting after cutting the lead to 6-4 thanks to goals by Brad Hunt (2) and Luke Kunin (1), but they could not overcome the two-goal deficit and surrender an empty-net goal to Sam Lafferty (1), his first in the NHL and his third point of the game. Lafferty earned first star honors for his effort in just his third NHL game.
Matt Murray earned his third win of the year with a 29 save effort and tallied his 100th career win. Murray joined Marc-Andre Fleury, Tom Barrasso, and Ken Wregget as the only netminders in Penguin’s history to win 100 games with the team. Devan Dubnyk stopped 18 of 32 shots in the loss. Alex Stalock, who took over for Dubnyk, surrendered one goal on 11 shots.
Winnipeg required overtime to dispatch a Chicago squad looking for their first win in a 3-2 game, Saturday. Chicago jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals by Brent Seabrook (1) and Brandon Saad (1). Winnipeg chipped away at the lead with a goal in each of the remaining periods of regulation. Nikolaj Ehler (2) scored in the second period while Andrew Copp (1) scored his first goal of the year in third. In overtime, Mark Scheifele (2) scored 47 seconds into overtime to give Winnipeg a clutch road win and to spoil Chicago’s second home game. Connor Hellebuyck earned the win with a 27 save performance while Robin Lehner stopped 30 of 33 shots in his Chicago debut.
Through five games, Kris Letang is averaging 25:39 minutes per game, which is the third-highest time-on-ice average in his career. Only four players in the NHL average more time-on-ice per game in the NHL than Letang.
So far, in the 2019-20 season, no team in the NHL has more hits than the Penguins. As a team, they have amassed 186 hits through five games. Forwards Brandon Tanev (23) and Zach Aston-Reese (19) have been leading the way and rank third and eighth in the NHL in hits, respectively.
Kris Letang can cross off multiple milestones tonight when he hits the ice. He is one point from 500 and will tie Syl Apps for ninth place on the franchise’s all-time points list. Letang can also become the first defenseman in franchise history to accomplish the feat. He is also one game from tying Jean Pronovost for fifth place on the franchise’s all-time games played list with 753.
Bryan Rust (Hand, LTIR)
Zach Trotman (Sports Hernia, IR)
Evgeni Malkin (Lower Body, Long Term)
Nick Bjugstad (Lower Body)
Alex Galchenyuk (Undisclosed, IR)
Nathan Beaulieu (Upper Body)
Bryan Little (Upper Body, IR)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||14.5% (24th NHL)||89.1% (2nd NHL)|
|New York Islanders||23.5% (9th NHL)||84.6% (7th NHL)|
Penguins, +110, -15, (O 6.5)
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Dominik Kahun||Jared McCann||Brandon Tanev|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Joseph Blandisi||Dominik Simon|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Sam Lafferty|
|Brian Dumoulin||John Marino|
|Marcus Pettersson||Justin Schultz|
|Jack Johnson||Juuso Riikola|