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GAME DAY: Jets return home to face Penguins

6:00pm CT - TV: Sportsnet; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

Be sure to catch the JetsTV Live Pre-Game Show with Jamie Thomas, Mitchell Clinton & more beginning at 5:00pm CT right here on WinnipegJets.com, as well as YouTube and Facebook Live.

Video: TSN Pre-Game Report

WINNIPEG - For the second time in four days, the Winnipeg Jets will face off with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but this time, it will be at Bell MTS Place.

Two games so close together can help strategy-wise, but Nikolaj Ehlers is keeping the specifics of this morning's video session to himself.

"Nothing I want to share," laughed the 21-year-old, who played 17:51 in the 2-1 overtime loss in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

"They're going to come in hot. They lost yesterday. That's how we felt going into the Columbus game, and we played really well, so it's not going to be an easy game. I think everyone in here is excited for it and ready to battle this one out."

Video: PREGAME | Paul Maurice

It's a quick one-game stop at home for the Jets, who finished a two-game road trip with another 2-1 defeat in overtime in Columbus on Friday.

Despite the fact the team would have preferred to come home with the full four points, they'll take the two points they earned, as well as the positives from the two games.

One of those was the penalty kill, which killed off all eight shorthanded situations during the road trip. On the flip side though, the Jets want to see more production from their power play, which went 0-for-8 during that same span.

"It's a speed thing more than anything else. Our entries are about as good as their entries on us right now statistically," said head coach Paul Maurice. "We've turned an awful lot of pucks over that were pretty clean. There's going to be scrambles, and there's going to be battles, and you're not going to win every one of them. But the clean possession turnovers are the ones that really hurt us."

The Penguins (7-4-1) played last night in Minnesota, and despite Evgeni Malkin opening the scoring, the defending Stanley Cup champions dropped a 2-1 decision to the Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Video: PREGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers

So far, the Penguins are 0-3 this season in the back half of back-to-back games, but Maurice knows that doesn't make tonight's match-up any easier.

"The model everyone likes with Pittsburgh is their ability to go back and get the puck, and then transition it," said Maurice. "There's less freelance in Pittsburgh's game than people think. It's a direct game, (and) it's a fast game, when they're on. If they don't have a play, they chip to speed, and they forecheck hard, and their D are up the ice.

"If you don't match their speed, then you've got a real problem."

Pittsburgh didn't hold a morning skate Sunday, but the Jets elected to hit the ice following yesterday's off day. While the team didn't do any line rushes, the projected lines look similar to those in Columbus, with the exception of Joel Armia returning to the line-up, and Marko Dano sitting out.

Connor-Scheifele-Wheeler

Ehlers-Little-Laine

Tanev-Copp-Matthias

Lemieux-Hendricks-Armia

Morrissey-Trouba

Enstrom-Byfuglien

Kulikov-Myers

Connor Hellebuyck also gets his shot at revenge against the Penguins tonight, after making 34 saves at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday. The Penguins have yet to announce their starting goaltender. Matt Murray took the loss last night in Minnesota, stopping 27 of 29 shots.

Puck drop is set for 6 pm CT.

Video: PREGAME | Patrik Laine

ICE CHIPS

Adam Lowry was back on the ice in a non-contact jersey as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury that has kept him out of five games.

"We're just waiting for him to get to full contact. He's making improvements. It's slower than we'd hoped, but there's not much we can do with it," said Maurice. "He feels better each day, and there will come a point in time when he can start banging. Now at least we can work on the conditioning. When he turns the corner to full contact, he shouldn't be very far off."

Mathieu Perreault also continues to progress from his lower-body injury, sustained in the 2-1 win over Carolina on Oct. 17.

"Vegas and Arizona is the four-week mark on that. We'll get some more tests. He gets back on the ice when we get back from Minnesota, so in the Dallas and Montreal at home, he'll join us on the ice," said Maurice. "If everything looks right, we'll push him real hard going in. If he doesn't play those first two road games, we would expect him on the other side of it."

- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

JETS GAME NOTES

Tonight's Game

The Winnipeg Jets return to Bell MTS Place tonight to entertain the Pittsburgh Penguins for the only time this season...The Jets lost of pair of 2-1 overtime contests in Pittsburgh and Columbus on Thursday and Friday respectively...After tonight, Winnipeg heads back on the road for a game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday before returning to Bell MTS Place for games against the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens later this week.

Jets vs. Penguins Notes

- Jets have lost 10 of their last 11 games and 13 of their last 15 games to the Penguins.
- Since the franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011, the Jets have been outscored by the Penguins 65-40 in 16 games.
- The Jets have surrendered four goals or more in eight of their last 10 games against Pittsburgh.
- Blake Wheeler leads the Jets in scoring against the Penguins with 18 points (7g, 11a) in 28 career games.

Effective PK

After allowing four power play goals in the first two games this season, the Jets have gone 20-for-23 (87.0%) on the penalty kill in their last seven games, including eight-for-eight in the back-to-back road games...The Jets haven't allowed a power play goal in four of the seven games and haven't allowed multiple power play goals in a game since the second game of the season.

Close Games

The Jets are 2-0-2 in one-goal games this season...Four of Winnipeg's last five games have been decided by one goal...Winnipeg was 18-11-7 in one-goal games last season...All three of Winnipeg's losses this season have come by three goals or more.

Strength of Schedule

According to Hockey-Reference, the Jets have faced the sixth strongest schedule in the NHL so far this season...Winnipeg's opponents have a record of 49-33-5 this season...The team's the Jets have beat this season after 16-15-5, while the teams that have beaten the Jets are 33-18-1.

5 in 10

With a win tonight, the Jets can reach five wins in their first 10 games of the season for the second time since the franchise relocated to Winnipeg in 2011...The Jets went 6-3-1 in their first 10 games during the 2015-16 season, but have been held to four wins or less in their first 10 games in the other five seasons...A victory would also match the 2015-16 season of having points in seven of their first 10 games...The franchise record for most wins in the first 10 games is seven, which was accomplished during the 2006-07 season (7-0-2).

Frightful October

The Jets franchise is 66-84-38 all-time in October, including 28-29-10 since the team relocated to Winnipeg...In their 17th season, the franchise has posted a winning record in October five times (2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2015)...The Jets went 7-3-1 in October 2015 for a .652 points percentage, which is a franchise best.

Dandy Tanny

Brandon Tanev scored his second goal of the season and fourth of his career on five shots Friday against Columbus...His five shots in a game matches the career high he set Oct. 28/16 at COL...Both of Tanev's goals this season have come unassisted...Dustin Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler each had six shots on Friday, giving the Jets three players with at least five shots in a game for the first time this season.

Blockade
 
Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba had four blocked shots on Friday against Columbus to increase his team-leading season total to 25...He's sixth in the NHL with 2.78 blocked shots per game...He's recorded multiple blocked shots in four consecutive games.

Helle Stands Tall

While his personal four-game winning streak came to an end on Thursday night against Pittsburgh, goaltender Connor Hellebuyck remains undefeated in regulation (4-0-1)...Among goaltenders that have played in at least six games, Hellebuyck is sixth in the NHL with a .931 save percentage...His previous best save percentage is .918, which he had as a rookie during the 2015-16 season.

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