The Penguins rolled into Winnipeg last night for their fourth game of the season. This time ‘round, Pittsburgh would face-off against the Jets, in just their second season, bringing with them Sidney Crosby for the first time in his career. Looking to rebound from a 5 – 3 loss on Wednesday at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pens were looking to have the luck of the road team on their side. However, that would not be the case as Crosby’s debut in Winnipeg would be outshone by a 4 -2 victory in favour of the Jets.
The Penguins would notch two goals in the first period, both coming courtesy of Crosby. (If nothing else, Jets fans got a stellar performance from the Kid from Cole Harbour.) Crosby’s first of the night would come less than five minutes into the period with a snap shot that would beat Jets’ net-minder Ondrej Pavelec. Crosby would pick up a pass from linemate Chris Kunitz from the wall and drove it home, putting the Pens on the board. His next of the night would come ten minutes later, with just five minutes to go in the period. Number 87 would carry the puck down the ice, earning a 2-on-1. Cutting to the slot, he’d shoot it five-hole, beating Pavelec and giving the Penguins a dangerous 2 to 0 lead. Winnipeg would be unable to respond before the first horn, heading into the second down but not out.
Any momentum the Pens had built in the first would be short lived, as the remainder of the game would be ALL Winnipeg. Less than a minute into the middle frame, it would be Evander Kane cutting the Penguins lead to one with a wrist shot that would beat a sprawling Tomas Vokoun. Evgeni Malkin would come close to increasing the Penguins two-goal lead again with an amazing shot from his knee but would ultimately be stopped by Pavelec. With eight minutes left in the period, Malkin would be called for a hook. After a hooking call to Olli Jokinen expired, the Jets were left with just over a minute of a 5-on-4 advantage and it would be just enough time for Dustin Byfuglien to capitalize, tying the game with slap shot that would blast its way into the Pens net. The Jets would tally a third before the end of the middle twenty, the goal credited to captain Andrew Ladd. Heading into the third, the Pens would find themselves down 3 to 2 but not quite out.
The final frame would see a single goal and that goal would favour the Jets. It would result from an empty Penguins net and Blake Wheeler. The Pens would lose their
second in a row, this time falling 4 to 2 in their first game against the Jets this season.
It should come as no surprise that Kris Letang led all skaters with 26:01 of ice time, followed by Paul Martin with 22:21. Sidney Crosby saw 21:38 of ice time while notching his two goals. Evgeni Malkin recorded 8 shots on goal while Tyler Kennedy had five and Joe Vitale had four. Tomas Vokoun faced 31 shots while the Penguins fired 35 toward Pavelec.
The Penguins continue on the road, this time travelling to Ottawa where they are set to battle the Senators on Sunday at 5:00pm.