JETS (24-14-8) at PENGUINS (26-12-8)
TV: TSN3, ROOT
Defenseman Kris Letang and forward Patric Hornqvist could each play Tuesday after participating in Pittsburgh's morning skate. Letang missed one game after sustaining a concussion during the Penguins' 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 20.
Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Letang and Hornqvist, as well as forward David Perron, will be game-time decisions. Perron left Pittsburgh's Monday practice early.
Letang, who is third on the Penguins with 32 points, took part in Pittsburgh's skate on the morning of its game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 21, but did not take the ice for pregame warm-ups after being labeled a game-time decision. He skated on his usual pairing with Paul Martin on Tuesday and said the Jets will be a formidable test coming off of the All-Star break.
"They forecheck really well," Letang said. "They have big guys and obviously, on the back end they have guys that can jump in the rush, so managing the puck is going to be huge … You want to get everybody in and involved in the game. Make sure you have short shifts and get back into it."
Hornqvist, who has missed 11 games with a lower-body injury, took the ice for the second consecutive day and skated on the Penguins' top line to the right of center Brandon Sutter and left wing Beau Bennett. He is fourth on Pittsburgh with 13 goals in 33 games and had a goal and an assist against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 23 before sustaining his injury against the Washington Capitals four days later.
The Penguins will be without forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who each missed the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game with lower-body injuries. Crosby joined the Penguins for the Tuesday skate and could return against Washington on Wednesday, but Malkin is not expected to resume skating for the next few days, Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Monday.
Jets coach Paul Maurice said he expects the Penguins' best tonight, even without their two most notable players.
"There's guys that are going to get a chance to play a little more and they don't get that chance," Maurice said. "They're missing some key pieces to their lineup and I think some of the other players in their lineup don't get talked about as much as they would in other markets, maybe. But you have guys coming in that'll get a chance to play a little bit more and then you got some guys coming in that are getting their chance that they haven't gotten.
"So, I think there's going to be some energy, some intensity. Nervousness isn't the right word, but anticipation. And that's our challenge."
Forward Mathieu Perreault will return to Winnipeg's lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury, Maurice said. He skated at second-line left wing next to center Mark Scheifele and right wing Michael Frolik at the morning skate.
Here are the projected lineups:
Status report: Comeau skated with Hornqvist prior to the practice, but isn't expected to return to the Penguins within the next five to seven days. … The Jets will start Pavelec to face Greiss on Tuesday. Pavelec is 2-12-1 against Pittsburgh in his career.
Who's hot: Perron scored at least one goal in three consecutive games before being held pointless over his past two. He has five goals in eight games with the Penguins. … Ladd has scored at least one point in 10 of his past 11 games. Over that stretch, he has scored 14 points and five goals.