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Penguins Halfway Home, Game 41: Lines, Notes, What to Watch vs. Jets

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Winnipeg Jets

It seems like a full season already, but the Pittsburgh Penguins (25-10-5) are halfway home on Sunday as they host the Winnipeg Jets (17-13-6) at PPG Paints Arena. It’s an afternoon tilt, so we’ll see which team gets their legs first. The puck drops just after 1 p.m.

The Penguins swept their back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday when they survived an Ottawa Senators third-period comeback 6-4, then pulled away from the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Friday night. Tristan Jarry won both games because backup Casey DeSmith wasn’t quite ready for game action and didn’t make it past the first period on Friday.

Jarry figures to start on Sunday, though head coach Mike Sullivan could return to DeSmith since he played only 20 minutes. Third goalie Louis Domingue is on IR.

The Penguins have won four in a row, five of seven, and are 15-2 in their last 17.

The Penguins played with 11 forwards for the last 25 minutes of their Friday win over Columbus. Winger Zach Aston-Reese left the game shortly after blocking a shot in the second period.

Head coach Mike Sullivan dropped winger Kasperi Kapanen from Evgeni Malkin’s line and replaced him with Evan Rodrigues. After sustained offensive pressure, Rodrigues drew the penalty, which led to Sidney Crosby’s game-clinching goal.

Saturday night, the Penguins activated forward Radim Zohorna from the Taxi Squad but didn’t specifically update Aston-Reese’s status.

On Saturday afternoon, Winnipeg lost to the Boston Bruins in Boston, 3-2. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck started for Winnipeg, so the Penguins will likely face Eric Comrie.

Comrie is 3-2-1 this season with a .914 save percentage and 2.53 GAA.

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines

LWCRW
Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust
Jason ZuckerEvgeni MalkinRickard Rakell
Danton HeinenRyan PoehlingKasperi Kapanen
Brock McGinnSam PoulinDrew O'Connor
LDRD
Brian DumoulinKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJeff Petry
P.O JosephJan Rutta
Goalie
Tristan Jarry
Casey DeSmith

Expected Winnipeg Jets Lines, per PuckPedia.com:

Copp-Scheifele-Wheeler

Connor-Dubois-Perfetti

Statsny-Lowry-Vesalainen

Harkins-Toninato-Poganski

Defence:

Morrissey-Demelo

Dillon-Pionk

Samberg-Schmidt

Goalie:

Eric Comrie

Pittsburgh Penguins Odds:

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The Winnipeg Jets usually lose the first period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins usually win the first period. The Penguins are 21-3 when scoring first. The ‘Over 1.5 Goals Period 1′ market has hit in each of the Jets’ last eight games as underdogs.

Puckline: Penguins -1.5 (+138) Jets +1.5 (-167)

Moneyline: Penguins -182. Jets +148

Bets we like:

Win first period: Penguins +138

To score first: Bryan Rust (+1300), Evan Rodrigues +1400

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Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes

*The Penguins raised their PK percentage back to 90.0% and are again the top-ranked PK in the league (90.0%, 1st). However, the power play struggled against Columbus. The PP dropped (18.3%, 20th). Winnipeg has the next-to-last PK in the league (72.5%, 31st). The power play is a bit better (20.9%, 14th).

*The Penguins are 14-3-0 in their last 17 meetings with the Jets and 9-1-0 all-time at PPG Paints Arena.

*In 39 games against the Jets, Sidney Crosby has recorded 18 goals, 39 assists, and 57 points.

*Evgeni Malkin has 51 points (20G-31A) in 35 career games against the Winnipeg Jets. Among active players (min. 10 GP), only Connor McDavid (44 PTS in 25 GP – 1.76) has a higher points-per-game average against the Jets than Malkin (1.46) and teammate Sidney Crosby (57 PTS in 39 GP – 1.46).

*Kris Letang has a 10-game scoring streak. He’ll play his 900th career game on Sunday, making him one of four players in Penguins history to reach that mark with the franchise.

*The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of five teams (Colorado, 126; Florida, 119; Vegas, 110; Pittsburgh, 103; Tampa Bay, 103) whose defensemen have combined for 100 or more points this season.

*The Penguins kick off their six-game homestand with an active, season-long, six-game home winning streak. Only the Colorado Avalanche (14) and Florida Panthers (7) have longer active home winning streaks in the league.

How to Watch:

(TV: AT&T Sportsnet, NHL Network; Radio: 105.9 The X

Subscribe to PHN+

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Mark Miller
Mark Miller
10 months ago

Thanks Dan, always good reporting, keep it up and lets go Pens!

Tom Tarka
Tom Tarka
10 months ago

He’ll play his 900th career game on Sunday, making him one of four players in Penguins history to reach that mark with the franchise.

With Mario, Sid, and Geno being the others, I presume?

Alan Smith
10 months ago

Home game! 18-2 sounds like one of the best NHL streaks! Covid, knees, wrists, ribs all making the Pens one of the best put together teams this season! Defensemen jumping in on offense with other teams collapsing back to their goal! Best watch in the NHL!
Let’s Go Pens!

Steve
Steve
10 months ago

Dang. Rust has horrible luck.