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Jets aim for first win against Pens

by Brian Compton
PENGUINS (3-1-2) at JETS (0-3-0)


Season Series: This is the first of four meetings between the teams. Pittsburgh swept its four-game season series against the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010-11 and handed the latter a 5-2 loss in the franchise's final game on April 10 at Philips Arena.

Big Story: Pittsburgh heads to Winnipeg a bit banged up. Evgeni Malkin did not play in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at the Consol Energy Center due to a sore right knee. Malkin, one of the League's brightest stars, has missed three of the past four games and will not play Monday or Tuesday, when the Pens visit Minnesota.

Sidney Crosby, arguably the best player in the League, has finally been cleared for contact, but there is no set date for his return. Crosby has been out since January due to a concussion.

Team Scope:

Penguins: Pittsburgh suffered its first regulation loss of the season Saturday night at the hands of the Sabres. The Pens had earned three victories and lost twice in overtime in their first five contests. It marked the first time Pittsburgh lost to Buffalo since Dec. 29, 2009.

"We know how they were going to play, pinch down on our wingers, and we had a couple of breakdowns there and they capitalized on the chances," Pens forward James Neal said. "It's disappointing because we were so prepared and we knew how the game would be laid out."

Jets: The people of Winnipeg are obviously thrilled to have the Jets back in town. Now, they'd like to see them win a game. Claude Noel's squad has opened the season with three straight losses and most recently dropped a 4-1 decision at Phoenix on Saturday night. Winnipeg has been outscored 13-5 in the three defeats.

"I'm disappointed and I'm not sure what we're waiting for," Noel said. "It looks like our team thinks we have a free pass to fail. (The team's stats) reflects exactly the way we've played. We're better than that, but we haven't proved that to ourselves."

Who's Hot: With 5 goals, Neal is tied for the League lead with Toronto's Phil Kessel and Islanders forward John Tavares. … Jim Slater has 2 goals in Winnipeg's first three games.

Injury Report: Besides Malkin (who has 4 points in three games), the Pens will also be without Brooks Orpik (hernia) and Dustin Jeffrey (ACL). All three players did not make the trip. … Jets winger Ben Maxwell (back) is day-to-day, while Eric Fehr (shoulder), Aaron Gagnon (undisclosed) and Kenndal McArdle (foot) are unlikely to play.

Stat Pack: Jets rookie Mark Scheifele played a season high 16:22 on Saturday night but did not record a shot on goal. After enjoying a very strong training camp, the seventh overall selection at the 2011 Entry Draft is still searching for his first NHL point.

Puck Drop: "The bad news is we've lost every game we've played so far. The good news is we've got 79 more." -- Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey

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