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Winnipeg Jets

Dan Bylsma Pre Game Comments

While Winnipeg Jets fans won’t be seeing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin tonight, they can expect to see James Neal. The 24 year old was acquired in a trade last year with Dallas and has gotten off to a hot start with six points in six games.

For Coach Bylsma, Neal’s play hasn’t changed since last year, but the results are finally coming.

“(We’re seeing) a lot of what we saw last year, there was somewhat an idea that he didn’t score goals for us, he had 22 (for Dallas),but only 1 for us (in 20 games).  (He has) speed, (is) on the puck, he’s a physical guy, he goes in around the net, he’s got a great shot. He did that last year for us, he’s doing it again the puck is going in right now for him, a lot of those shots are finding a way in. He’s got a couple rebound goals, and goals with his quick shot, and getting pucks in on the goalie and getting goals that way. There going in right now for him, he’s hopefully going to keep playing with speed, physicality and going to the cage, and will be a factor.”

The Penguins are off to a hot start collecting eight points in their first six games (3-1-2). Coach Byslma feels that specials team has been a huge factor in the teams’ success this season.

“We’ve played on the road, some tough situations in Vancouver to start the season, Calgary, Edmonton, we’ve shown we can win hockey games. Our powerplay and our special teams is plus six right now, we’ve got some powerplay goals, PK has been very good. We’ve given up one goal and have two shorthanded that’s been a big factor in our success so far. At times we’ve shown we can play with speed and can be a tough team to handle, that’s something we haven’t done consistently for sixty minutes. We can get a lot better in some areas, our powerplay has buoyed us so far our goaltending has been good we’ve been able to get some wins. We’ll be tested here on the road.”

While the Jets are 0-3, Bylsmas isn’t taking this game lightly, he knows that they will be hungry for the first W tonight in front of a raucous home crowd.

“I expect a spirited atmosphere, I expect a spirited group there, they obviously hadn’t had success in the win column yet, I expect them to come out real hard real energized tonight, and really come at us with a hard forecheck. Their D are hard to handle, their in on the offense, their in the offensive zone, and that’s something that can be a dangerous thing to deal with. We’ll have to play good defensively there and try to exploit it and go back the other way.”

Puck drop is at 7:30 on TSN Jets