NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, January 5th
(All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (19-20-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (30-12-1), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins will
try to continue their dominant play on home ice when they welcome the Winnipeg
Jets for Sunday's clash at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins have won 11 straight in the Steel City, pushing their home record
this season to 18-3-0.
Pittsburgh, which suffered its last loss as the host on Nov. 13 against
Philadelphia, can match a club record for a home winning streak with another
victory today against the Jets. The mark of 12 straight home wins was set from
Feb. 22-March 30 of last season.
The Pens, who have won three of four and 10 of their last 12 games overall,
notched a 5-2 home win Friday night against the New York Rangers, as Chris
Kunitz and Jussi Jokinen each scored twice to fuel the rout.
Sidney Crosby added a goal and two helpers for the Penguins. Brian Gibbons
notched assists on both Jokinen scores, while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 33
Jokinen's two-score night halted a 14-game goal drought and gives him 11
markers on the season. The Finnish forward last scored on Nov. 30 against
"You can't score every game and when you hit kind of a little bit of a slump,
you just try to do all those little things right," said Jokinen. "It's always
been like that a little bit for me when I play center. It's a little more
freedom there and some more chances. It felt good to get a couple tonight."
Both star forward Evgeni Malkin and top defenseman Kris Letang could make
their returns for the Penguins on Sunday. Malkin has missed the last nine
games with a lower-body injury, while Letang has sat out 10 in a row due to an
elbow injury that required minor surgery.
Malkin has 41 points (9 goals, 32 assists) in 32 games this season, while
Letang has notched six goals and five assists in just 24 games on the blue
line. Both players are considered questionable for Sunday.
The Jets have not fared well in Pittsburgh over the years, and that could make
halting the Pens' home streak a tough task. The Winnipeg franchise, which
prior to the 2011-12 season was known as the Atlanta Thrashers, have lost 12
straight in the Steel City, dating back to a 4-2 win by the Thrashers on Dec.
Pittsburgh also has claimed two straight, five of six and nine of the last 11
overall meetings in this series.
The Jets have lost two straight in regulation to begin January, following a
three-game winning streak to end the 2013 calendar year. Winnipeg played
Saturday afternoon in Boston and was handed a 4-1 loss as Torey Krug scored
twice and added an assist to help the Bruins notch the comfortable victory at
Dustin Byfuglien scored the lone goal for Winnipeg, while Ondrej Pavelec
turned aside 25 shots in defeat.
Winnipeg fell to 9-12-1 as the visiting team this season and will try to
salvage a win when it closes a three-game road trip this afternoon.
01/05 10:35:21 ET