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Pens aim to start new streak against Jets

by Dan Rosen
JETS (34-30-8) at PENGUINS (44-21-6)


Last 10: Winnipeg 5-4-1; Pittsburgh 9-0-1

Season Series: The Penguins won two of the first three meetings between the clubs this season, including by an 8-5 decision in Pittsburgh on Feb. 11. Sidney Crosby did not play in any of the first three games against Winnipeg.

Big Story: The Jets are trying to keep pace in the playoff race at the bottom of the Eastern Conference while the Penguins are trying to keep the pressure on the New York Rangers in the race at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Jets: Winnipeg is coming off a heartbreaking, back-breaking loss to Carolina on Sunday night. Chad LaRose scored for the Hurricanes with 1:22 left and the Jets, who had an opportunity to break even with Washington after the Capitals lost in Chicago, were left two points short back in ninth place.

They wake up Tuesday in 10th and four points back after the Sabres and Capitals both won. The Sabres jumped the Jets into ninth while the Capitals extended their lead over both Buffalo and Winnipeg to four points.

The Jets are also starting a three-game road trip that will also take them to Washington on Friday and Nashville on Saturday. They are just 11-19-4 away from MTS Centre this season.

"The problem was you couldn't stop the bleeding, and that's really sad," a dejected Jets coach Claude Noel told reporters in Winnipeg after Sunday's loss. "It's sad because we came so far and to do this to each other, to disrespect each other like this was silly."

Penguins: It took Scott Hartnell scoring with 0.9 seconds left in overtime for the Penguins to lose a game. Their 11-game winning streak came to an end in Philadelphia, but there is also the feeling that the Penguins are just rounding into form as they've played only three games since Crosby and Kris Letang both returned to the lineup.

Crosby played more than 17 and a half minutes Sunday, the most he played in any of the three games since he returned. He was held without a point, but he did have a combined five assists in dominating wins over the Rangers and Devils.

Letang was over 24 minutes for the second time in three games against the Flyers. He had a big hit on Jaromir Jagr, two assists, six penalty minutes and six shots on goal.

"I just want to make sure that I am getting better and feeling better each game," Crosby said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, after Sunday's game. "I think, as a group, we played really well here in the last few (games). Most of the time we've done some really good things. So, we just want to keep building off that and, individually, the same thing."

Who's Hot: Antti Mietinen scored his first two goals in a Jets uniform on Sunday and Evander Kane extended his point-scoring streak to five games (2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points). Kane has points in 13 of his last 14 games (9-10-19). For Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin has goals in three straight games and seven points over the last four and Pascal Dupuis has points in six straight games (5-3-8).

Injury Report: The Jets could be without Eric Fehr (upper-body injury), Nik Antropov (lower-body injury) and Chris Thorburn (lower-body injury). The Penguins are still missing backup goalie Brent Johnson (undisclosed). Joe Vitale was also banged up in Saturday's win over New Jersey and did not play Sunday against Philadelphia.

Stat Pack: The Jets are No. 1 in the League at home on the power play (23.1 percent), but they are dead last in the NHL on the power play away from MTS Centre (12.0 percent). They've received 130 power-play opportunities in 38 home games, but a League-low 92 in 34 road games. The Penguins have the League's best home penalty-kill percentage (91.0) and are third overall in the League on the PK.

Puck Drop: "At home we play great defensively, and then you get your chances and then you score the goals," Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec told the Winnipeg Sun. "It's simple enough. We can do it at home, but we are not able to do it on the road."
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