Winnipeg Jets (4-3 SU, 2-5 PL, 6-1-0 O/U) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (6-4 SU, 3-7 PL, 7-3-0 O/U)
When: 7:05 PM EDT, Thursday, October 26, 2017
Where: PPG PAINTS Arena in Pittsburgh, PA
Lines: Pittsburgh -172/ Winnipeg +155
Inter-conference NHL action this evening and the Central Division will square off with the Metro Division as the Winnipeg Jets take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. The Jets enter this game off a 4-3 home win over Minnesota, while the Penguins are off a 2-1 OT win at home over the Oilers. Goalie Probables: The Jets will be sending out Connor Hellebuyck and he will be opposed by Matt Murray.
Wheeler Lifts Jets Over Wild
The Winnipeg Jets could be a surprise team this year after missing out on the postseason last year. They started the year with a loss to the Calgary Flames, but have since won four of their last five games. They recently had a three-game homestand and won two of those three games, including taking a 4-3 decision over the Minnesota Wild. It was a back-and-forth game as the Jets led 2-0, before falling behind 3-2. Patrik Laine then scored with just 33 seconds left in the 2nd period to tie the game and then it was Blake Wheeler who got the game-winner at the 13:14 mark of the 3rd period. For Laine, it was his 2nd of the game and 4th of the year and for Wheeler, it was his 1st of the year and 200th of his career. Also scoring for the Jets in the win was Nikolaj Ehlers, which was his 6th of the year. Connor Hellebuyck is off to a nice start this year as he is now 4-0 with a 2.32 GAA on the year after taking a win against the Wild, including 2-0 with a 2.01 GAA on the road. In his career, he has gone 18-16 with a 2.72 GAA out on the road and 6-2 with a 2.43 GAA during the month of October, while against the Metropolitan Division he has gone 9-8 with a 3.26 GAA, including 1-2 with a 3.50 GAA against the Penguins.
Winnipeg has been a good offensive team so far as they rank 12th in the league in scoring at 3.14 gpg, while also ranking 29th in shots taken (29.3 spg) and 15th in power play conversions, converting on 17.4% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been poor so far as they come in ranked 27th in goals allowed, giving up 3.71 gpg, while also ranking 25th in shots allowed (34.6 spg) and 30th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 28.0% of their chances.
Penguins Top Oilers In OT
It was not a great start for the defending champs as they lost 5-4 at home to St Louis and then 10-1 at Chicago in their first two games, but they have been playing far better of late as they have won six of their last eight games. On Tuesday evening, they took on a struggling Edmonton team at home and it was a dogfight as they won the game by a score of 2-1 in OT. This was on the heels of an embarrassing 7-1 loss at Tampa Bay, so they really needed the win. The Penguins have not had great play in the crease this year and it prompted them to release Antti Niemi who was 0-3 with a 7.49 GAA for the team as Matt Murray’s backup. Casey DeSmith will now back up Murray, who is 6-1 with a 3.05 GAA on the year after beating the Oilers. He hasn’t played great this year, but his offense has bailed him out. In this game, he bailed out the offense in stopping 29 of the 30 shots that he faced. In his career, he has gone 24-8 with a 2.43 GAA in his home games and he has gone 5-3 with a 2.83 GAA against the Central Division, including 1-0 with a 4.00 GAA against the Jets. Scoring for the Pens in the win was Ian Cole, which was his 1st of the year and Phil Kessel, whose 3rd of the year came just 42 seconds into the OT period to give the Pens the win.
The Penguins have been decent on offense so far as they come in ranked 11th in the league in scoring at 3.20 gpg, while also ranking 3rd in shots taken (35.9 spg) and 4th in power play conversions, converting on 30.0% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very poor as they come in ranked 30th in goals allowed, giving up 4.00 gpg, while also ranking 21st in shots allowed (33.1) and 17th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.5% of their chances.
- None Available
- 10-3 in their last 13 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600
- 44-16 in their last 60 after scoring two goals or less in their previous game
The Winnipeg Jets come in playing well, but so do the Penguins. The Jets are a very good offensive team and so are the Penguins. Connor Hellebuyck has been very good in the crease of late, but still, I feel that the Pens have the advantage in the crease with Matt Murray, who hasn’t look great so far but is coming off a very strong outing against the Oilers. The Penguins have a strong offense and they play very well he at home and so does Murray, who is 24-8 here at PPG PAINTS Arena in his career. I look for Pittsburgh to take a hard-fought battle against the surprising Jets.