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Penguins Keep it Simple, Ground Jets for 2nd Win in a Row, 3-0

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Pitttsburgh Penguins game, Winnipeg Jets 3-0

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — It took more than 40 minutes for the Pittsburgh Penguins (8-7-3) to light the lamp. And when they finally did, Evgeni Malkin and Jason Zucker continued piling up points. Zucker and Malkin worked a little give-and-go at the top of the Winnipeg Jets (10-5-1) zone, which ended when Zucker blasted a one-timer past Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck.

In the two minutes, Sidney Crosby, who had four points on Thursday, intercepted Hellebuyck’s pass to no one and fed Bryan Rust (5) for the wrister into a yawning cage. In the final seconds, Rust assisted on Jake Guentzel’s (10) empty net goal. On Saturday, the Penguins beat the Jets, 3-0, at Canada Life Centre. The win was the Penguins’ second in a row.

Guentzel is tied for the league lead in empty net goals with Alex Ovechkin (4).

Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry, who won his first game in nearly one month on Thursday, struggled with his first shot. Moments into the first period, Jarry remained in the down position, but the puck lay beside him, not under his pads. Players fought to the net for the loose puck before Marcus Pettersson cleared it from danger. Jarry settled down and turned aside all 13 first-period shots, and 32 overall. Jarry earned his first shutout win of the season and the 12th of his career.

“Yeah, I thought the guys did a great job their box out early, and it allowed me to see a lot of pucks,” Jarry said. “I saw tips well. I thought I played well positionally.”

The Penguins’ place in the standings is precarious from day to day. Before the puck dropped, the Penguins were at the top of a four-team gaggle, three points behind the second wild-card New York Rangers. The win pushed the Penguins to just one point behind New York.

Zucker scored his fifth goal of the season and 15th point in 16 games.

The Winnipeg cold not only tested everyone’s knit caps, but Winnipeg tested the Penguins’ patience and willingness to play a structured, sound game. Through two periods, the Penguins remained largely on top of the puck and in control of their own game.

The Pittsburgh Penguins passed the test.

“I think when those things are happening, everybody just goes over the boards knowing what their job is, knowing what needs to be done, and we can be on our toes,” Bryan Rust said.

Rust snapped his seven-game scoreless streak.

After 40 minutes, the shots were nearly even, 23-21 for Winnipeg, and the high-danger scoring chances were even, 7-7. Evgeni Malkin was dangerous in the offensive zone, though he failed to connect on an extra pass to set up a sure-thing goal until Zucker’s marker in the third. Malkin led all players after two periods with five shots through two periods.

The final shot clock was even, 32-32.

Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck had the more difficult task. Despite the paper stats, Hellebuyck had to make a handful of tough saves, and close down a few rebound chances, too. He stopped all 21 shots through 40 minutes.

 

Crosby and Guentzel had several whacks on the edge of the Winnipeg crease in the opening minutes, but neither could direct the puck into the net. Crosby and Guentzel continued to buzz around the net, but neither was able to get the clean look they needed.

Saturday afternoon, Winnipeg announced that winger Nikolaj Ehlers is out indefinitely for sports hernia surgery.

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Jeff Young
Jeff Young
15 days ago

I could watch that Penguins type of hockey all season.

Knobman
Knobman
15 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Young

Agreed. Nicely played game. Turnovers and bad passes were not as obvious in this one.

Mary Jo Connors
Mary Jo Connors
15 days ago

What a great win!! They played tough..yeah Jar!!

Uros
Uros
15 days ago

Finally they showed they can play a good 60 minute game. It was just a question of turning it on. Now that I know they’ve found the switch, I’ll just stop worrying even if they lose badly somewhere along the way.

Alan Smith
15 days ago

Are the Jets the most boring team to watch in the NHL? Going to be tough when they start smashing people in the playoffs! Glad there still is 65 regular season games to go! The defense was good against a lousy offensive team that had a four game win streak!

Zach
Zach
15 days ago
Reply to  Alan Smith

Rick Bowness is a defensive first coach, that is the system he plays. He preaches defense first. It may not be sexy, but that way that both teams played last night is how championships are on, with good sound defensive structure.

Pete
Pete
15 days ago

No! Malkin cleared the puck from danger after it got past Jarry. Pettersson wasn’t even on the ice! Wow!

Wasnt
15 days ago

You could see Jarrys confidence grow as the game went on. Good for him.
Winnipeg looks like a cool but cold place to live. I guess that game was the place to be on Saturday night.