WINNIPEG, Manitoba – You’d be hard pressed to find two hotter teams.
The Penguins are riding a five-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 23-4. The Jets, meanwhile, are 5-0-1 over their past six.
Eight o’clock at MTS Centre, you’ll be watching.
“It’s a good challenge for us,” Penguins forward Blake Comeau said. “They’ve been playing some really good hockey. We’ve been playing good hockey. It should be fun.”
It’s funny, everybody wants to label this thing as the Penguins are an offensive juggernaut, the Jets sound defensively.
Won’t argue completely – Winnipeg goalies have given up six goals during that stretch – but haven’t the Penguins been the better team defensively? At least recently?
“Teams see Pittsburgh as an offensive team, but if you look at our record lately, we had one goal, three of four shutouts,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. “We’ve started to play well defensively. With our team, it’s a matter of everyone playing and taking responsibility for their own zone, everybody coming back, reloading above on the forecheck.”
Minnesota was smart on Tuesday. The Wild didn’t take many penalties, although the Penguins did cash in once, 12 seconds into a delay-of-game call on Marco Scandella.
The Jets, whose PK is tied for fourth in the league at 88.2 percent, have provided their opponents 51 power-play chances so far, tied for third-most in the league.
With the Penguins’ power play at 41.3 percent, Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian knows his team needs to be careful.
“Breakdowns will happen,” Bogosian said. “Penalties will happen. If they get on the power play, they’re able to do some pretty nice stuff. We have to make sure we’re being smart about things.”
News out of the skate: Not much, honestly. Penguins went option, and most took the option. Scott Harrington, Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Nick Spaling, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, Zach Sill, Craig Adams, Marc-Andre Fleury and Thomas Greiss comprised the group that took the skate.
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About the Jets: Like the Wild, the Jets’ power play had been struggling – 7.7 percent – before breaking out with a pair of goals during Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Nashville. Andrew Ladd and Mark Scheifele got ‘em. … The Jets’ PK went four for four against the Predators’ and ranks fourth in the league at 88.2 percent. They’ve been busy, too, having been a man-down 51 times this season. Only two teams have faced more. … Bryan Little (5-5-10) leads in points. Little, Ladd and Blake Wheeler are tied for the team lead in goals with five apiece. … Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec is 4-0-1 over his last five starts with a 1.15 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage.
The series: The Penguins own a four-game win streak over the Jets. … Since the Jets moved to Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 season, the Penguins have won seven of nine games and have outscored them, 40-24. … Pittsburgh is 40-11-2 all-time against the Jets and swept the season series in 2013-14. … Since 2011-12, the Penguins have an Eastern Conference-best 34 wins against the West. Boston is second with 30.
Next up: Penguins at Sabres, Saturday, 7 p.m.