JGD 35: Jets Face Adversity as Penguins Come to Town

After a few days off for the holidays, the Winnipeg Jets get back into action tonight at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

The Jets went into the break with losses on back to back nights against the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames. Both games were on the road. 

They’ll be back at home now and hopefully be a bit more energized after the break. They have that going for them, at least. What they won’t have is Mark Scheifele, who collided with captain Andrew Ladd in practice on Saturday and was put on IR earlier today. 

Adam Lowry was recalled from the Manitoba Moose today and will take Scheifele’s place in the lineup. 

The Penguins were on a five-game losing streak before winning their last two games, including last night’s 3-1 win against the Minnesota Wild. The Penguins are 1-4-1 on the second half of back-to-backs this season. 

The Penguins won both match-ups last season against the Jets. 

LINEUPS

Lineups courtesy of Daily Faceoff

Winnipeg Jets (15-17-2)

Jets O

As stated before, Lowry was recalled and will take Scheifele’s spot as second-line center. However, Maurice has decided to shuffle the lines up a bit in the hopes of generating some more offense. 

Ladd was moved to the second line and Stafford takes his place with Little and Wheeler. So now it’s ‘Stafford’s Little-Wheeler’ line, I guess. 

Burmistrov gets a shot on the second line tonight with Ladd and Lowry, while Perreault moves down to center the third line between Ehlers and Thorburn. The fourth line remains the same. 

Jets D

The defensive pairs remain the same. 

Not really much else to say that we don’t already know about this group.

8+33+39 = Good

57 = Eh

5+7 = (insert dumpsterfire.jpeg)

Jets G

Hellebuyck will get the start tonight. He had a tough outing his last start against Edmonton, allowing 3 goals on 14 shots which cut his night short. He’ll have a chance to rebound from that performance tonight.

Pittsburgh Penguins (17-14-3)

Pens O

Oh, hey there third line winger Phil Kessel. Watcha doin’ down there?

The Penguins have struggled to produce offense this season, but Evgeni Malkin is starting to heat up. He has 6 goals and 2 assists in 11 games during the month of December. 

Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz lead the team with 9 points each in December. 

Pens D

Dumoulin and Maatta lead all Penguin defensemen in points in the month of December with 5 each. 

Kris Letang has 2 assists in the 3 games he’s played. 

Pens G

Marc-Andre Fluery remains out with a concussion. Matt Murray has started the last 3 games for the Penguins, including last night against the Wild. It is likely Jeff Zatkoff gets the start tonight. 

PREDICTIONS

Game Day Prediction: Scheifele is a big loss, but the Jets have fresh legs and the Penguins just played last night. Jets take advantage and win 3-2. 

Obvious Prediction: Look for the Jets to shake off some rust in the beginning of the game. Some early sloppiness expected. 

Not So Obvious Prediction: Lowry steps up and scores in his first game after being recalled.