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Pens-Jets In-Game Blog

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins


0:00: And that'll do it! The Pens take this one 8-5.

2:44: As Malkin and Kunitz are just outside the blue paint working to dig the puck out, they finally do and Letang is able to pick up the garbage for his second of the day! PENS 8, JETS 5

3:03: Pens getting a late PP opportunity as Ladd goes for slashing!

6:09: Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is in the house this afternoon! The video board just showed him and the crowd went nuts. #HereWeGoSteelers

9:58: Bryan Little powers around a pair of Pens defenders and wrists a bullet past Fleury to cut Pittsburgh's lead back to 2 goals. PENS 7, JETS 5

12:12: Cooke forces a turnover on the wall that allows Dupuis to collect the loose puck. He finds Staal going to the net and hits him right on the tape with a pass, and No. 11 snaps one short side past Pavelec!!! PENS 7, JETS 4

15:06: And just 19 seconds later, Richard Park beautifully deflects Orpik's blast from the blue line to regain the two-goal lead!!! PENS 6, JETS 4

15:25: Byfuglien pinches in super low to grab a juicy rebound and tickle the twine with it before Fleury can slide over to make the save. Jets pull within one... PENS 5, JETS 4

16:16: The Jets nearly sneak one behind Fleury as the puck lays unattended to in the blue paint for a couple of seconds, but he recovers in time to cover for the whistle!

20:00: Puck drops for the third period. Game on!

- Malkin has 1G-3A - one point shy of tying his single-game career high
- He now holds sole possession of 8th place on the team's all-time assist list with 298
- Geno's line has combined for 9 points as Kunitz has 3 (1G-2A) and Neal has 2 (1G-1A)

0:00: First 40 minutes are in the books. Pens have built a 5-3 lead and have a 29-14 advantage in shots!

2:52: Kuni hits Geno with a pass that allows him to split the Jets D and go forehand, backhand, forehand to tuck one past Pavelec for his fourth point of the game! PENS 5, JETS 3

5:41: As Wheeler loses his balance behind the Pens net, he's able to sweep a pass out front to Stapleton, who quickly redirects it into the cage. PENS 4, JETS 3

6:23: The Jets successfully kill off the power play and get back to full strength.

8:27: Pens getting their second PP of the afternoon as Enstrom goes for tripping!

     "The Malkin line is so dominant. Letang assisted by Geno. 4-2 #Pens #NHLJets"

10:07: Malkin breaks the puck out of his own zone and hustles up the ice with Letang jumping up to join him on the 2-on-1 rush. Geno sends a pass through Enstrom that Tanger is able to just tap in past Pavelec! PENS 4, JETS 2

     "Fleury with the assist #GoalieWin"


15:28: Jets nearly tie it up when Ladd finds himself alone in front of the net and tries deking and sliding one past Fleury, but 'Flower' is up to the task! P.S. Fleury earned an assist on Kui's goal!!! Fleury is always trying to get his name on the score sheet, so we're all pumped that he got a point today.

16:46: Pens pull off a textbook breakout out of their own zone, and Kunitz - who'd been hanging out up high - comes across to receive a hard pass from Geno. He carries in and wrists a bullet past Pavelec for the PP score!!! PENS 3, JETS 2

17:59: Now it's the Pens who get their first crack on the PP as Thorburn goes off for roughing!

18:34: Very strong start to this period as the Pens just sieged the front of the net and got several quality scoring chances as a result.

20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Game on!

(Getty Images)

- Staal has an assist in his first game back after missing 15 straight
- Malkin has a helper in his 400th career NHL game
- That was goal No. 29 for Neal. He's one away from hitting 30 for the first time

0:00: Pens successfully kill off the penalty and rally from a two-goal deficit to enter the first intermission tied 2-2 with the Jets. Pittsburgh has a 14-10 advantage in shots.

2:06: The Jets are being awarded the first PP of the afternoon as Letang is called for holding the stick on Evander Kane. Pens to the PK.

3:18: And off a set faceoff play in the offensive zone, Malkin wins a faceoff back to Neal who's planted right behind him. The puck barely touches his stick before he tees it off past Pavelec in a split second! That's the 29th goal for the Real Deal James Neal! PENS 2, JETS 2

     "Really nice shot by Jeffrey there. So happy to see it working for him after injury. 2-1 #NHLJets #Pens"


7:49: Letang gets the puck just behind his own blue line and sends a quick pass up the wall to Staal, who backhand dishes to Jeffrey. He carries to the net and absolutely snipes one top shelf near side past Pavelec! And just like that, the Pens are back in the game! JETS 2, PENS 1

8:26: Jets really seem to have found their legs early. They're outshooting the Pens 9-6 and definitely have the edge in quality scoring chances.

11:56: Alex Burmistrov skates around the net looking for an outlet, but once he gets near the blue line he decides to shoot himself. His wrister deflects off Cal O'Reilly and past a surprised Fleury, who couldn't do anything on that one. JETS 2, PENS 0

13:26: Malkin wheels to the net and nearly slips one past Pavelec, but the goalie recovers and holds on. They may be down a goal, but the Pens have certainly had some good chances over the first few minutes.

14:43: Speedy defenseman Tobias Enstrom carries down into the corner and sends a centering pass to the front of the net, where Kyle Wellwood redirects it past Fleury with the back of his blade. JETS 1, PENS 0

     "@PensInsideScoop happy hockey day, glad that STAAL is back!! Have a great game"

19:03: Jordan Staal just stepped on the ice for his first shift back after a 15-game absence with a knee injury and the crowd welcomed him back with rousing cheers! Great to see Staalsy back.

20:00: It's a hockey afternoon in Pittsburgh! Puck drops to start the first. Game on!


2:00 PM:
Pens scratch Lovejoy and Kennedy, while Jets scratch Randy Jones, Eric Fehr and Mark Flood. Fleury is in goal for Pittsburgh while Ondrej Pavelec will start between the pipes for Winnipeg.

1:55 PM:
Note: today is Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada, which is an annual special broadcast by CBC to celebrate the game in Canada that includes features all afternoon leading up to a tripleheader of NHL action featuring the seven Canadian teams (Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets).

The Pens are the only American-based team featured in this because of the odd number of Canadian teams.

In honor of that, CBC is handing out these awesome beanies (or toques, if you're from the Great White North) for the players when they do their intermission interviews. Sweet!

12:30 PM:
Though neither club held a morning skate today because of the early start, we did talk to a couple of the Pens about this afternoon's opponent. The videos are below!



12:28 PM:
As promised, here's Bylsma's pregame address that's very Staal-centric...I wonder why?

On having Staal back for the game:
It’s not a place we are particularly strong right now, in the middle of the ice. To get a guy who potentially plays a 20-minute plus role and in every situation, penalty kill, power play, defensively, offensively, it’s a pretty big guy to get back in our lineup. The size he brings, defending wise and playing with the puck, he’s an exceptional player. We’ve missed him for 15 games and are looking forward to getting him back.

On Staal going against opponents' top players:
There have been situations on the road where it’s been head-to-head for Malkin and the other team’s top line. With Jordan in the mix and his line, especially with Cooke and Dupuis, gets the responsibility of matching up with the other team’s top lines. It will free up Evgeni a little bit. It’s a tougher matchup against Jordan as well that can lead to situations where it’s advantageous to get Malkin’s line out against different pairings and different people. Jordan brings a lot in that regard. He has a big responsibility against the other team’s top line and should be helpful in the matchups and situations ‘Geno’s’ line will find himself in.

On preparing for the Jets:
When we play every other day or a lot of games you don’t get practices or are not able to focus on what we need to do to get better. We had a day of good work in between and preoperational practice Friday, focused on what we can expect against Winnipeg here today. A little rest, but we’re right back into a lot of hockey starting with the game here today.

On Crosby and Asham:
They both skated today and were working out off the ice this morning. Arron has now been on the ice for four days now. He’s ramped up his workload on the ice. Hopefully he moves to the next stage with the team and then working to get back to playing.

12:15 PM:
Good afternoon everyone! The Pens are getting ready to host the Winnipeg Jets here at CONSOL Energy Center for the first time this season. Starting with today's game, the Pens will play 10 of their next 14 contests and 17 of their remaining 28 here in Pittsburgh. They're carrying a four-game home winning streak entering this afternoon's tilt, so hopefully they can extend that today.

Center Jordan Staal is back in the lineup today after missing 15 straight with a knee injury suffered Jan. 6 vs. NY Rangers. Head coach Dan Bylsma said after practice Friday that Staal won't be jumping right back into his normal 20-minute, all-situations role right away, but that his role will be "significant." Bylsma also said yesterday that Marc-Andre Fleury will be in goal. We spoke to him a short while ago, and we'll have a transcript and video up shortly.

Jets head coach Claude Noel also spoke briefly to the media before the game and announced that both Kyle Wellwood and Tim Stapleton will be in the lineup while defenseman Zach Bogosian is a game-time decision.

While we wait for the pre-game videos to be posted, here's Steve Mears with today's Game Day Report...

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