Game Day Preview: Jets @ Penguins
When: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Time: 6:00 p.m. CST
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Records: Winnipeg Jets (18-14-2 – 3rd in East), Pittsburgh Penguins (26-8-0 – 1st in East)
Television/Radio: ROOT, TSN-JETS/TSN 1290
The Story: Be afraid Winnipeg Jets fans, be very afraid. Come to think of, the rest of the NHL should be afraid too.
The Southeast Division-leading Jets play the red hot and re-tooled Pittsburgh Penguins tonight looking to end Pittsburgh’s 13-game winning streak.
Pittsburgh shocked the world late Wednesday night by acquiring Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames for two prospects and a 2013 1st Round Draft Pick just days after the team had bolstered their line-up with veteran forward Brendan Morrow and veteran defenseman Douglas Murray. Pittsburgh acquired Iginla late Wednesday night in exchange for college prospects Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski as well as the team’s 2013 first-round draft pick. Earlier this week, Pittsburgh acquired Brendan Morrow and a 2013 3rd round pick from the Dallas Stars for 2011 1st round pick Joe Morrow and a 2013 5th round pick. The Pens acquired Douglas Murray from the San Jose Sharks for a 2013 2nd round pick and a 2014 2nd round pick.
So what does this mean for tonight’s game? Well it’s pretty obvious. The Penguins will look very different from the team that Jets last played in mid February. The additions of Iginla, Morrow and Murray make the Penguins a bigger and tougher team to play against which should scare all the other teams in the Eastern Conference. It should be noted that Morrow and Murray are expected to be in the line-up for the Penguins tonight but Iginla is not expected to play against the Jets tonight.
Winnipeg enters the game on a winning streak of their own at two games and will look to pick up their 11th road win of the season as they look to build on Tuesday night’s 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, who trail them by six points for the division lead. The Jets are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and have picked up points in five of their last six road games.
Evander Kane was the big star of Tuesday night’s game, picking up four points (one goal, three assists) and more importantly snapping out of a three game pointless streak at just the right time. Winnipeg gave up the first goal of the game on Tuesday night but they stuck to their game plan, battled hard and scored four unanswered goals to defeat a Carolina team that had been idle for four days entering the game.
Just as he has been for much of the season, Ondrej Pavelec was stellar in net on Tuesday night, starting in his 11th consecutive game. Pavelec has now started 31 of 34 games this season and has 15 wins, tied for 4th most in the NHL.
The Jets and Penguins have played each other twice this season with each team earning one victory. The Jets defeated the Penguins back on January 25th 4-2 and lost to the Penguins 3-1 on February 15th.
There will be one significant line-up change for the Jets tonight as Al Montoya will get his first start in goal since March 7th when he started against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Montoya has a record of 3-0-0 with one shutout and a GAA of 2.68 this season.
Follow @IllegalCurve on Twitter leading up to today’s game.
Projected Jets line combinations (subject to change before game time):
1st: Andrew Ladd- Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Evander Kane-Olli Jokinen- Antti Miettinen
3rd: Patrice Cormier– Nikolai Antropov- Kyle Wellwood
4th: Eric Tangradi- Alexander Burmistrov – Chris Thorburn
Tobias Enstrom- Dustin Byfuglien
Zach Bogosian- Ron Hainsey
Derek Meech- Grant Clitsome
Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby (15 goals, 39 assists, 54 points), Chris Kunitz (19 goals, 23 assists, 42 points), James Neal (17 goals, 13 assists, 30 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Andrew Ladd (14 goals, 18 assists, 32 points), Blake Wheeler (14 goals, 14 assists, 28 points) Evander Kane (13 goals, 12 assists, 25 points)
Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Kris Letang (groin)
Winnipeg Jets: Zach Redmond (leg), Anthony Peluso (hand), Jim Slater (upper body), Mark Stuart (upper body), James Wright (undisclosed)
Who’s Next: The Jets return home to play the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, March 30th (2:00 p.m. CST).
QUICKIES….Tanner Glass, a former member of The GST Line, has zero points in 34 games for the Penguins this season……