Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1-2) @ Winnipeg Jets (0-3-0)
Time: 8:38 P.M. | Where: MTS Centre, Manitoba, Canada
Referees: Dean Morton (36) & Brad Watson (23) Linesmen: Lonnie Cameron (74) & Thor Nelson (80)
First trip back to Winnipeg
The Penguins return to Winnipeg for the first time since a 1-0 win against the original Winnipeg Jets (now the Phoenix Coyotes) on February 16, 1996. In the win, Tom Barrasso stopped all 32 shots he faced to pick up his 10th career shutout as a Penguin and Jaromir Jagr scored the lone goal off a Sergei Zubov assist.
The Penguins tonight face a Winnipeg team that is 0-3 on the season and will be hosting their second home game.
Kennedy out with concussion like symptoms
The Penguins already without Evgeni Malkin, will also be without the services of Tyler Kennedy tonight.
Kennedy who traveled with the team to Winnipeg, did not participate in the Penguins morning skate due to concussion like symptoms, head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters today.
Bylsma indicated during his media session that the team was not aware of Kennedy’s symptoms until last night, after the team arrived in Winnipeg. It is a similar situation to Sidney Crosby last season when he traveled to Montreal with the team following the Tampa Bay game. Kennedy will be further evaluated.
Increased roles for Park, Asham
The absence of Evgeni Malkin will lead to an increased role for Richard Park tonight who played well with Steve Sullivan and James Neal Saturday night.
Park will center Sullivan and Neal on the second line (or the top line if you want to call it that).
Park has been strong on draws, winning 22 of 38 on faceoffs this season. (57.9%).
Arron Asham will be the beneficiary of Kennedy being out, moving up to the third line, getting a regular top-9 shift.
Asham will skate on right wing with Mark Letestu and Matt Cooke.
Fleury in goal
Marc Andre Fleury will get the start tonight with Brent Johnson expected to start tomorrow night vs Minnesota. Fleury has gone 10-1-0 with a 1.89 goals-against average in his last 11 starts versus the Jets franchise.
Fleury is 12-4 with a 2.26 GAA against the Jets franchise.
Success against Jets franchise under Dan Bylsma
The Penguins swept the season series (4-0) against the Jets franchise last season and the Penguins have very successful against them under head coach Dan Bylsma. Bylsma owns an 8-1 career record against Winnipeg (Atlanta). The Pens are a perfect 5-0 on the road against the Jets franchise under Bylsma.
A poor Jets team should play with a lot of emotion
Winnipeg (0-3-0) was called out by their coach following Saturday’s lost and many are expecting the team to play with a ton of emotion tonight. “I’m disappointed,” coach Claude Noel said on his team. “I’m not sure what we’re waiting for. It looks like our team thinks we have a free pass to fail.”
The Jets have been outscored 13-5 and are the only team not to record a point this season. Winnipeg was outshot 34-19 in Saturday’s 4-1 loss in Phoenix on Saturday.
The Jets are 0-for-13 on the power play through three games and that’s an area they are desperately looking for a boost.
The Jets will be missing their best forward tonight in Evander Kane who won’t play due to an upper body injury.
On paper this is one of the worst teams in the NHL but it should be a tough game for the Penguins tonight.
Kunitz – Staal – Dupuis
Sullivan – Park – Neal
Cooke – Letestu – Asham
MacIntyre – Vitale – Adams
Martin – Michalek
Engelland – Letang
Niskanen – Lovejoy
Marc Andre Fleury in goal
Scratches: Orpik, Malkin, Kennedy