Pittsburgh Penguins vs Winnipeg Jets
Tonight’s Game By The Numbers…
Puck Drop 7pm cst
Location: Canada Life Centre – Winnipeg MB, Canada
Pittsburgh Penguins 7-6-4 = 18 Pts
12th in Eastern Conference
21st Overall in NHL
5th in Western Conference
11th Overall in NHL
This will be the first meeting against the Jets this season. Pittsburgh did not play the Winnipeg Jets last season due to the Covid-19 schedule shuffle.
Rodrigues #9 F 6G-5A-11Pts 49.4% Faceoff win%
Guentzel #59 F 7G-7A-14Pts 64.3% Faceoff win% (20th overall -10G+)
Letang #58 D 1G-9A-10Pts 26.22 Time on Ice (4th highest overall)
Jarry #35 G 7W – 4L 2.17 GAA (16th overall) .927 Save %
How the Pens Win:
The Penguins are 2-3-0 over their last 5 games. This does not sound like much however, they have now won 2 straight on the road and are getting healthier by the day. The Penguins beat the struggling Canadiens with a solid 6-0 pure victory. The Pens then went into Toronto and took down the Maple Leafs, winners in 10 of their previous 11 games, with tidy 2-0 victory. Tonight is a Pivotal game for the Penguins.
We have established the Magic Formula for what the Penguins must do to win, Scoring First. Stats say, when the Penguins score first, they win. So, taking it to the Jets right away, at puck drop, is key. Getting off to a quick start by setting the tempo for the game and scoring first will be important for the Penguins. Forcing the Jets to chase the game early, plays in Pittsburgh’s favor.
Laying the body on the opposition, hitting every Jets player in motion and stapling them to the boards at every opportunity, is another key to victory. The M.O (Modus Operandi) of The Pittsburgh Penguins this season, is to play an up tempo, heavy style game, full of grit. Getting lots of shots on Jets goalie Hellebuyck #37, will be crucial. Penguin shooters need to focus their shots, Low Blocker/High Blocker, if they want to score on #37. If the Penguins play within their known blueprint, they will win.
It seems that over the last 2 games, the Team Defense has tightened up. Letang #58, is playing rock solid on the back end, showing his Leadership, experience and calmness in the D-Zone. Goaltender Jarry #35, has made some timely saves, not allowing a swing in momentum, in the last 2 Penguin victories. This leads me to believe he is getting his confidence back as well as receiving more defensive assistance from all players.
Power Play: 11.5% Ranked 32 overall
There is only one way to go from here, and it is up.
Penalty Kill: 89.1% Ranked 7th overall
Keep doing what they are doing, because it is working.
Connor #81 F 12G-10A-22Pts 4th Overall in NHL Scoring
Copp #9 F 5G-11A-16Pts 53.7% Faceoff % (79th overall -10G+)
Schmidt #88 D 1G-10A-11Pts 22.10 Time on Ice (50th overall)
Hellebuyck #37 G 6W – 2L 2.62 GAA (32nd overall) .918 Save %
How the Jets Win:
The Jets are 3-2-0 over their last 5 games. Wins over San Jose, LA, and a nice 5-2 victory over their longtime rival, Edmonton has brought them at or near the top of the Central Division.
Coming off a Shoot Out Loss in Edmonton, and another loss to the Canucks on the West Coast, this is the pit stop game, as the Jets then gear up for a 3-game road trip against tough opponents, Columbus, Minnesota and Calgary later this week.
Keeping their focus on this game, and beating a team that is lower than them in the standings, is a sign that the Jets are ready to challenge for the Cup this year. These are the must win games for the Jets. The Jets have fire power, speed to burn and a decent Power Play. Can they play a Playoff Style game in November? If Winnipeg can play a clean game, and limit their give aways, they will win.
Connor #81 and Dubois #80 are leading the Jets in goal scoring this season. Dubois appears to be over his struggles, adapting nicely to the move from Columbus to Winnipeg. He seems more at ease and comfortable out there. He is using his body to protect the puck and hitting when necessary. The Jets need him to play the power forward role. Can he bring that sandpaper each and every game?
The Jets are also getting healthier by the day. Getting back Wheeler #26 and Scheifele #55, has helped with overall team depth, now they both have to step it up offensively. This team is deep with strength up the middle and built for a run this year.
Nate Schmidt #88 is proving to be a key off season addition, by General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. It appears that the 6-foot-tall Schmidt is a stabilizing, calm force on the Jets back end, the Achilles heel last year.
Hellebuyck #37, has been ok this year, better of late. Over the last few seasons, we have been used to speaking about Hellebuyck in the Vezina conversation, so the bar has been set quite high. He is rounding into form and needs to be in the top 5 overall, for the Jets to make noise this season in the playoffs.
Power Play: 21.3% Ranked 11th overall
Lots of playmakers, lots of shooters. They know how to score goals period.
Penalty Kill: 68.1% Ranked 31st overall
They need to fix this, because whatever they are doing right now, it is not working.
Pittsburgh Penguins Record 7-6-4 = 18 Pts
Winnipeg Jets Record 9-4-4 = 22 Pts
Pittsburgh Goals For 50
Winnipeg Goals For 53
Pittsburgh Goals Against 48
Winnipeg Goals Against 48
Pittsburgh Goal Differential -2
Winnipeg Goal Differential 5
Pittsburgh Power Play 11.5%
Winnipeg Power Play 21.3%
Pittsburgh Penalty Kill 89.1%
Winnipeg Penalty Kill 68.1%
Pittsburgh Penalty Minutes 119
Winnipeg Penalty Minutes 140
Pittsburgh Shots Per Game 35.3
Winnipeg Shots Per Game 32.0
Pittsburgh Team Faceoff 50.7%
Winnipeg Team Faceoff 48.7%
Pittsburgh D-Zone Give Aways 70
Winnipeg D-Zone Give Aways 135
Pittsburgh O-Zone Give Aways 40
Winnipeg O-Zone Give Aways 39
Pittsburgh Offside For 21
Winnipeg Offside For 27
Pittsburgh Offside Against 25
Winnipeg Offside Against 22
Pittsburgh Team Goals Against Average 2.82
Winnipeg Team Goals Against Average 2.53
Pittsburgh Team Save % .914
Winnipeg Team Save % .922
Pittsburgh G – Jarry #35 2.17 GAA
Winnipeg G-Hellebuyck #37 2.62 GAA
Pittsburgh G – Jarry #35 .927 Save %
Winnipeg G-Hellebuyck #37 .918 Save %
My View from the Cheap Seats
I predicted last week, leading up to this Penguins road trip (World Canadian Tour), that this was a possible game the Penguins could steal. In my humble opinion, comparing and analyzing the data listed in my scouting report above, I still feel the same way, Penguins to Win.
Quote of the Day:
Henry Samueli – Owner Anaheim Ducks