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Jets try to deny Penguins third straight road win

by Brian Hunter /

PENGUINS (2-1-0) at JETS (1-1-1)


Season series: First of three meetings. On the inaugural slate between Pittsburgh and the reborn Winnipeg franchise, the Penguins took three of four. The final two games at Consol Energy Center were barnburners, won 8-5 and 8-4 by the home team. James Neal led all scorers with five goals, including a hat trick in the most recent matchup on March 20, 2012.

Big story: The Penguins lost their home opener on Wednesday, but will be looking to improve to a perfect 3-0 on the road. The Jets, meanwhile, had a productive two-game road swing, going 1-0-1, and will look to rebound from their initial loss at MTS Centre in their season opener.

Team Scope:

Penguins: When a scrimmage last week drew a standing room-only crowd to Consol, it was more than evident Pittsburgh fans couldn't wait to see NHL hockey again. The Penguins did their best to get the building rocking early Wednesday, getting an Evgeni Malkin power-play goal in the first period to open the scoring and a breakaway goal by captain Sidney Crosby to knot the score at 2-2 in the second. Penalties hurt them, though, and Marc-Andre Fleury had a tough night, stopping only 19 of 24 shots in what ended up a 5-2 defeat.

"Even if you kill them it takes so much energy and it takes (Crosby, Malkin and Neal) off the ice," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "Having those three guys on the bench isn't a good recipe for winning hockey games. We know in here we have to be a little more disciplined if we want to win hockey games."

Jets: Things are trending upward in Winnipeg, as the Jets hit the road after a disappointing loss to the Senators in their opener and managed a point in a tough shootout loss in Boston before putting forth their best performance of the season in Washington. Ondrej Pavelec backstopped the 4-2 victory with 34 saves, Evander Kane got the previously dormant offense going with a goal and an assist, and defenseman Tobias Enstrom assisted on three goals.

"We came into Boston and Washington, both tough buildings to play in and tough teams to play against, and we played the way we knew we could play," said Blake Wheeler, who also had a goal and an assist.

Who's hot: Malkin (1-4-5) has points in all three games this season for the Penguins. Crosby and Kris Letang each have a goal and two assists over the last two games. … Pavelec has allowed just seven goals on 98 shots this season, a sparkling .929 save percentage. Six different Jets have scored a goal. Enstrom leads the team in scoring with four points, all assists.

Injury report: Winnipeg defenseman Zach Bogosian (wrist) and forward Antti Miettinen (upper body) are on injured reserve.

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