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WINNIPEG (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will head north of the border to take on the Winnipeg Jets Monday night.
The Penguins are looking to get back in the win column after an overtime loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday and a 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
The loss to the Sabres was the first time the Penguins had lost in regulation this season.
Buffalo jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and held off a furious charge by the Penguins in the third period.
For the city of Winnipeg, having hockey back has been a long time coming. It had been rumored for several years that the Phoenix Coyotes would return home to Winnipeg,
However, it was the Atlanta Thrashers who were sold and moved to Winnipeg over the summer.
A slow start to the season has left their hockey-starved fans hungering for their first win. Through three games, the Jets have yet to even record a point in the standings.
If history repeats itself, the Jets will still be in search of their first win after tonight’s game against the Penguins too.
According to the Penguins website, Pittsburgh is 11-1 against the Jets over the last three years. The Penguins also won all four meetings last season.
Ron Hainsey (no goals, 2 assists) and Jim Slater (2 goals, no assists) are tied for the team lead in points.
In goal, the situation hasn’t been much better. Ondrej Pavelec is 0-2 with a 4.58 GAA and an .833 save percentage.
Chris Mason allowed four goals in his only start this season.
It is not known who will start against the Penguins, but neither has had any success against Pittsburgh in their careers.
Pavelec is 0-7 with a 4.67 GAA and .854 save percentage against the Penguins, while Mason is 0-4 with a 4.44 GAA with an .849 save percentage.
For Pittsburgh, Marc-Andre Fleury (3-1, 2.71 GAA, .907 save percentage) has fared well against the Jets with a 12-4 record to go along with a 2.26 GAA and .919 save percentage.
However, Brent Johnson (0-0-2, 1.88 GAA, .926 save percentage) could get the nod tonight with the Penguins also playing against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
Johnson has performed quite well against the Jets in his career with a 9-3-2 record to go along with a 2.41 GAA and .918 save percentage and two shutouts.
While it would appear that this should be a game the Penguins should cruise to a win in, they will be without Evgeni Malkin again.
Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Dustin Jeffrey and Brooks Orpik did not make the trip to Winnipeg for tonight’s game.
Malkin is continuing to deal with soreness in his knee.
James Neal will continue to be counted on to continue to provide the scoring punch for the Penguins. Neal is currently tied for the league lead in goals with five.
The puck is scheduled to drop at 8:30 p.m. and you can watch the game on Root Sports.
You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CaseySheaPens.
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