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Thomas' Five Storylines - WPG @ PIT

Jets are looking for their first win at PPG Paints Arena

by Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV / Winnipeg Jets


For the second time on this four-game road trip, the Jets will go up against a long-time teammate. This time, Brandon Tanev will be on the other side of the ice for the Penguins after he signed a six-year, 21-million dollar deal during the summer. Tanev set the franchise record for most hits in a season in 2018-19 with 278. - he already has 14 in two games in Pittsburgh. Former linemate Adam Lowry was asked about facing Tanev and had a funny response. 

"He's gonna probably skate around and he's probably going to run into a few of us," said Lowry who held the previous club record for hits in a season with 255.

"It will be different kind of lining up against him having spent so much time over the last couple of years. But I'm looking forward to it."


Josh Morrissey will be held out of Tuesday night's game once again for precautionary reasons - according to Paul Maurice he didn't feel well on Monday about an hour after practice. On top of that, Dmitry Kulikov is not available to the team either since he is attending a personal matter. Sami Niku and Nelson Nogier have been recalled from the Manitoba Moose with Niku being put into the lineup and while Carl Dahlstrom stays in. Winnipeg gave up 21 high-danger chances to the Islanders with 15 coming in the second period. A big challenge ahead tonight for the Jets young defence core with Pionk, Heinola, Dahlstrom, Bitteto, Poolman and Niku sharing a combined 350 games of NHL experience.


With the lack of experience on the back end, Connor Hellebucyk will look to be sharp on Tuesday as he makes his second start of the season. Hellebuyck who has a save percentage below .900 in three of his last six starts going back to the 2019 playoffs remains confident. The 26-year-old netminder says he will continue to use his recent play as motivation.


Winnipeg averaged 9.3 penalty minutes per game in 2018-19 and that was the fifth highest total in the league. Discipline has been a plus for the club three games into the new season, the Jets were assessed two minor penalties in each of their first two games and just one minor penalty on Sunday against the Islanders. That is good enough to average only 3.3 PIM per game.


The Jets do get a break as injuries have hurt the Penguins down the middle just two games into the new season. Yesterday, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan said that both Evgeni Malkin (lower body) and Nick Bjugstad (lower body) will miss significant time. Bjugstad would have taken over for Malkin in the Pens number two centre spot but now Jared McCann will step into that spot and centre Tanev and Alex Galchenyuk.  

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