Tonight the Penguins (22-12-6) will look to make it an impressive eight wins in a row when they host the Winnipeg Jets (25-12-2), who have yet to play a game this year (terrible New Years joke). Puck drop is set for just after 7pm from PPG Paints Arena.
That's right, the Jets will play their first game of 2019 tonight. No offense to the New York Rangers but Winnipeg is actually good at hockey and they're even better away from their home rink. Entering tonight, the Jets have won eight of their last nine games away from Bell MTS Place and are an overall 12-6 on the road this season. Coming into tonight, the Jets lead the Central Division and have the fourth best record in the NHL.
The Penguins have also been on an absolute tear lately and are coming off of a 7-2 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday night, a game in which head coach Mike Sullivan wasn't happy with his team's effort early on. Sullivan said, "When you have the ability to win games when you're not at your best, it's an indication that we have potential to become a real good hockey team."
Speaking of becoming a real good hockey team, the Penguins are doing just that. The Pens are 9-1 over their last ten games and are 12-2-1 over the course of their last 15. Everyone seems to be finding the back of net except for the shooters on the opposing team. Since returning from a lower-body injury December 15th, Matt Murray is 6-0 with a 1.48 goals against average and a .955 save percentage. If you're wondering, yes that's very good.
Murray will get the start tonight and oppose Connor Hellebuyck.
It'd be wise for the Penguins to not take a penalty tonight. Winnipeg's power play ranks second overall in the league entering tonight clicking at 28.1%. The Penguins are 5th in the league on the power play, FYI.
Apparently #SchultzWatch is a thing. Mike Sullivan expects him to resume skating soon.
Sidney Crosby is the goat.
If you didn't see, Sid had one of the Penguins trainers give a Rangers fan a stick during Thursday's game after the guy chirped Crosby all night. Sid signed the stick and wrote on it, "Good chirps take it easy on me next time!"
Winnipeg is 7-1 against the Metrosexual Division this year.
Jamie Oleksiak looks to be in the lineup tonight, putting Juuso Riikola on the bench.
Patrik Laine is good. He leads the Jets in goals with 24 so far this season.
Not that I care one bit about all-star voting but it's a joke that Kris Letang wasn't voted in right away. Dude is playing some unreal hockey right now.