The Pittsburgh Penguins headed for a back-to-back in Winnipeg tonight against the Jets. Three lineup changes for the Pens - Jeff Zatkoff in for Matt Murray in net, Sergei Plotnikov in for Scott Wilson on seemingly a coach's decision and Kris Letang (woozy) sat out and David Warsofsky got back into the lineup.
Bryan Little starts the scoring on a penalty shot after Ben Lovejoy water-skiied him all the way to the net to generate the PS. Little made no mistakes beating Jeff Zatkoff high-glove side.
Another look. pic.twitter.com/JPhCXzpCEC— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) December 28, 2015
Not much for goals, so enjoy this great save by Zatkoff on Drew Stafford in the 3rd period to keep it 1-0.
- Olli Maatta might have saved 2 goals early. Certainly one, Blake Wheeler was all alone in front of the net with Zatkoff way out of position off his angle for the pass. The pass made it through, Maatta swiftly cross-checked Wheeler in the back and the shot went wide. Another time with 9 minutes left in the period Maatta slid along the ice and blocked another centering pass.
- Penguins fall to a 1-5-1 record on the second end of back-to-back games.
- 2 posts hit by the Jets in the first half of the game too with the score 1-0 them. Little with another strong chance and good shot that hit iron. Winnipeg were firing shots by Zatkoff all night, the Pens were lucky to be only down 1-0 for as long as they were.
- After a bad first period, the Pens rebounded with 9 of the first 10 shots on goal. In one 2-minute sequence half-way through the 2nd frame, Sidney Crosby threw a rebound chance that Connor Hellebuyck got hit right leg on. Then Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel hooked up for a Kessel shot that again Hellebuyck looked great making a big save on.
Adam Lowry got called up due to Mark Scheifele getting a concussion in practice yesterday and the Pens picked on Lowry big-time in the faceoff circle early with Lowry starting out 0-for-7 in the first period before rebounding to 8-17 on the night.
- Two power plays for the Penguins in the second period, neither went well. The best chance was a Blake Wheeler breakaway following an errant cross-ice Kessel pass that Zatkoff thankfully got a glove on to keep it 1-0 going into the second period.
- In fact, 5v4 was a real momentum killer for Pittsburgh in this game. They looked great for the most part at 5v5, but with the man advantage, very lackadaisical and sloppy.
- Interesting to see late in the first the Pens bump Kessel up to the Malkin line and leave it that way for the balance of the game. Not really sure why they felt it was needed, and obviously it didn't lead to any tangible offense.
- Dropping Conor Sheary so soon to a bottom line didn't seem to make much sense. Might as well have played the healthy-scratch'ed Wilson, in hindsight, to get a better bottom-6 player.
- With about 4 minutes left, the Pens loaded up Malkin-Crosby together. One reason the momentum stalled? They got paired with Warsofsky and Ian Cole and not much support.
The Pens are back in game action on Wednesday at home against Toronto. Hopefully it's better than this one.