Pittsburgh Penguins (7-4 SU, 3-8 PL, 7-4-0 O/U) vs Winnipeg Jets (4-5 SU, 4-5 PL, 6-3-0 O/U)
When: 7:05 PM EDT, Sunday, October 29, 2017
Where: MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba
National Hockey League action this evening and the Metro Division will meet the Central Division as the Pittsburgh Penguins invade the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba to rumble with the Winnipeg Jets. The Penguins will be playing on no rest as they have a game in Minnesota on Saturday, while the Jets are off a 2-1 OT loss in Columbus. Goalie Probables: Casey DeSmith will get the nod for the Penguins and he will be opposed by Connor Hellebuyck.
Pens Take Down Jets In OT
The Pittsburgh Penguins started the year with a couple of tough losses, but since then they have looked very solid in going 7-2 over their last nine games. They just took a 2-1 home win in OT over the Oilers and followed that up with a 2-1 home win over the Jets in OT. Matt Murray was in the crease for both of those games and stopped 59 of the 61 shots that he faced in those games and is now 7-1 with a 2.81 GAA. He has won his last seven starts in a row and will be getting the start in Minnesota on Saturday night, so getting the nod in this one will be Casey DeSmith and it will be his first-career start. He was 3-0 with a 0.98 GAA and a .965 save percentage for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this year. He was signed after Antti Niemi, who was 0-3 with a 7.49 GAA for the Pens, was let go. Scoring for the Pens in the win over the Jets was Conor Sheary, which was his 5th of the year and Phil Kessel, whose 4th of the year and 300th of his career, came just 1:07 into the OT period to win the game. Crosby, Kessel and Malkin lead the team in points with, while Crosby and Sheary lead them in scoring with five goals each.
The Penguins have been average on offense so far as they come in ranked 15th in the league in scoring at 3.09 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots taken (35.9 spg) and 5th in power play conversions, converting on 27.3% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very poor as they come in ranked 29th in goals allowed, giving up 3.73 gpg, while also ranking 19th in shots allowed (32.9 spg) and 17th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 19.6% of their chances.
Jets Fall To Blue Jackets In OT
The Winnipeg Jets are still looking to get on track after coming into the year with plenty of hype. They were at 4-3 but have lost back-to-back road games against Pittsburgh and Columbus with both losses being by identical 2-1 scores and both losses coming in OT. Those are a couple of tough losses to take, but they did play well against two of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, which has to give this team some confidence. In the loss to the Blue Jackets, the Jets had a 1-0 lead after one and it held up until the Jackets scored halfway through the 3rd period to tied the game and then they won it in OT. The Jets had 30 shots in the game but all they could muster was a goal by Brandon Tanev, which was his 2nd of the year. Steve Mason had a decent start in the game as he stopped 35 of the 37 shots that he faced, but he still took the loss and is now 0-4 with a 4.84 GAA on the year. Connor Hellebuyck is expected to be back in the crease in this one and he has gone 4-1 with a 2.25 GAA on the year, including 2-0 with a 2.58 GAA at home. In his career, he has gone 25-19 with a 2.67 GAA at home and 6-3 with a 2.38 GAA during the month of October, while against the Metro Division he has gone 9-9 with a 3.19 GAA, including 1-3 with a 3.06 GAA against the Penguins.
Winnipeg has been a poor offensive team so far as they rank 24th in the league in scoring at 2.67 gpg, while also ranking 28th in shots taken (29.6 spg) and 27th in power play conversions, converting on 12.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been poor so far as they come in ranked 22nd in goals allowed, giving up 3.33 gpg, while also ranking 29th in shots allowed (35.0 spg) and 22nd in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 21.2% of their chances.
- 51-21 in their last 72 vs. a team with a losing record
- 46-14 in the last 60 games in this series
- 16-36 in their last 52 vs. the Eastern Conference
- 3-8 in their last 11 in the third game of a 3-in-4 situation
The Penguins have been playing much better after their 0-2 start as they have won seven of their last nine games, which includes a 2-1 home win over these Jets. Connor Hellebuyck has been solid for the Jets so far and he may have an edge over Casey DeSmith, who is making his first career starts. I don’t think he does as Smith was 3-0 with a 0.98 GAA in the AHL before getting called up and the Jets have struggled on offense of late as they have scored just two goals in their last two games. Pittsburgh has the advantage on offense and they have the momentum right now, so I will look for them to come out on top in this one, even though they are playing with no rest.