WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Pittsburgh Penguins (7-7-3) got a few bounces, finally, to beat the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. It was far from perfect, but the win ended another mini-losing streak and provided the Penguins with their third win in 12 games. Will the victory begin the big thaw for the ice-cold Penguins? They’ll face the Winnipeg Jets (10-4-1) in the coldest NHL city on Saturday at the Canada Life Centre.
The puck drops just after 7 p. m.
Sidney Crosby scored four points, including a pair of goals, Thursday in the Penguins’ 6-4 win over Minnesota. Jake Guentzel (1-2-3) and Ryan Poehling also scored even-strength goals. Kris Letang scored a 5v3 goal, and Jake Guentzel netted the empty netter.
The win evened the Penguins’ record and added a few feel-goods in the Penguins’ room. Tristan Jarry also earned his first win since Oct. 22. Jarry stopped 19 of 23 shots, including a last-second garbage time goal.
Jarry will start again Saturday night.
The Penguins have contrasting starts to the season. Marcus Pettersson and Bryan Rust are at opposite ends. Pettersson has eight points (0-8-8) i 17 games, which is well above pace to break his career-best 22 points. However, Bryan Rust has been scoreless in the last seven games.
The Penguins’ fourth line was perhaps their best on Thursday. Poehling and Josh Archibald scored one goal and had another waved off.
Conversely, Winnipeg needed the last second-goal from Kyle Connor, who completed the hat trick to beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Thursday.
Defenseman Josh Morrissey leads Winnipeg with 16 points (1-15-16). Connor is the leading forward with 15 points (5-10-15). However, Winnipeg will be without Nikolaj Ehlers, who will undergo surgery for a sports hernia.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
Guentzel – Crosby – Rakell
Zucker – Malkin – Rust
McGinn – Carter – Heinen
Poehling – Blueger – Archibald
Pettersson – Letang
Joseph – Petry
Dumoulin – Rutta
Winnipeg Jets Lines, per PuckPedia.com:
Connor – Scheifele- Gagner
Perfetti – Dubois – Wheeler
Johnsson-Falljby — Lowry — Maenalanen
Toninato – Gustafsson – Eyysimont
Morrissey – Pionk
Dillon – Schmidt
Samberg – Capobianco
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
Last season, the Penguins were 2-0-0 against Winnipeg. Jeff Carter (1-1-2), Danton Heinen (1-1-2) and Evan Rodrigues (2A) led the team in scoring with two points apiece in those games.
The Penguins are 15-3-0 in their last 18 meetings with the Jets.
Sidney Crosby’s 16 even-strength points are tied for sixth in the NHL.
Jake Guentzel’s three empty net goals are tied for the most in the NHL. Since the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign, only Alex Ovechkin (10) has scored more empy netters than Guentzel (9).
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T Sportsnet, Sportsnet360
Radio: 105.9 The X
The Penguins found a way to win on Thursday without playing well. They won’t get such help from the Winnipeg Jets or goalie Connor Hellebuyck. However, the win and the practice crowd on Friday probably gave the Penguins a good dose of positivity. And the Penguins are nearly unbeatable in Winnipeg.
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