Pittsburgh Penguins Shutout By Winnipeg Jets 1-0


The Pittsburgh Penguins took the ice for the second straight night looking to continue their two-game winning streak against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Pittsburgh Penguins left their get up and go on the plane in the first period Sunday night.

The first half of the first stanza featured a lot of back and forth, but very few shots through those ten minutes.

14:46 into the first period, Ben Lovejoy was forced to hook Bryan Little after he got loose on a breakaway. Little was awarded a penalty shot after the Lovejoy infraction.

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The Winnipeg Jets forward beat backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff for a 1-0 Jets lead.

Beyond the penalty shots, the Jets had the better chances and finished the first period with an 11-9 shot advantage.

The Pens had a little more jump in the second period. They out-shot the Jets 14-5, but Connor Hellebuyck shut the door on every opportunity.

The third period saw less pressure from the Pittsburgh Penguins than most would have liked, though the team did produce several premium chances late but were ultimately unable to capitalize.

The Jets won 1-0.

Player Performance

Jeff Zatkoff and his buddy postkoff did all they could do (sans stopping that penalty shot). It’s never pretty when he’s in there and it’s kind of like riding a rollercoaster, but tonight he and his posts did enough to win…but the offense was once again absent.

Olli Maatta had some nice work in the defensive end early. It would be a nice addition to the Penguins’ repertoire if he could find his scoring touch again, as well.

Sidney Crosby looked good out there despite the shutout. His return from whatever injury he had has been a breath of new life for the captain. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

When the season began, did you expect to see Brian Dumoulin leading the Pittsburgh Penguins in ice-time for defensemen? Didn’t think so. But he did tonight, and unlike the majority of the defensive depth of the Pens he does seem to show up most nights.

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Evgeni Malkin had the most time on ice of all Penguins skaters (including defensemen), yet did not register a shot on goal.

No matter where Mike Sullivan or Mike Johnston line up Sergei Plotnikov, he’ll never ever score his first NHL goal. Apparently. Maybe. The kid is the definition of a linemate who drives puck possession, but he has little and nothing to show for it statistically.

Pittsburgh Penguins Player of the Game

I’m not sure I saw a true standout candidate. The default would be to give it to Jeff Zatkoff, who managed to save 27 of 28 shots on net, but we’ll leave it empty as a sign of solidarity with Matt Murray.

The Big Picture

This game had letdown written all over it going into tonight and the Pens did little and less to try and change that narrative.

They aren’t too hot on back-to-backs, and this was a back-to-back after a few days at home enjoying the holiday festivities.

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I’m not going to give the tired adages about the Jets wanting it more…I didn’t see that at all. They did have the better chances early when the Pittsburgh Penguins seemed very uninterested in the game in front of them, and a breakaway chance created enough opportunity for Little to score a goal on a penalty shot.

Beyond that, there wasn’t a whole ton to separate the two teams. It wasn’t a great game to watch by any means.

If the Pens had turned in a full sixty minutes instead of only trying to press in the final two periods the outcome may have been different. They didn’t, though, and now the Penguins are 2-5 in the Mike Sullivan era.

The Pens play again on Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.