Recap: Game 7 – Penguins vs. Jets.

Members of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate Zbynek Michalek's second period goal Monday night in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Courtesy of Getty Images.)

The seventh game of the regular season saw the Penguins return to Canada where they would face the recently relocated Winnipeg Jets. The Jets – formally the Atlanta Thrashers – were looking for their first win of the season and they would get it courtesy of the ever polite, ever giving Penguins.

It would take but eight seconds for Winnipeg to light the lamp this evening with their first goal coming courtesy of Kyle Wellwood. Wellwood’s goal marked the first goal the Jets had scored on the Penguins in well over 15 years. (The last time the Jets played the Penguins was in 1996 and it ended in a 1-0 victory for Pittsburgh.) Before the end of the first, despite some fast-paced play and some near misses and hum dingers, the Jets would tally another goal courtesy of Tanner Glass after teammate Alexander Burmistrov set him up with an impressive pass. At the end of the first twenty, the Pens were down 2-0 and being outshot 10-7.

On to the second, where it would be Pens defenseman Zbynek Michalek cutting the Jets tally in half with just over a minute and a half left in the first forty. Michalek’s goal came courtesy of  a steal from Matt Cooke who passed the puck of to Kris Letang who in turn slid it to Michalek who blasted it through traffic and into the netting behind Jets net-minder Ondrej Pavelec. Michalek’s goal came after a near miss by teammate Richard Park just ten minutes prior. Park’s shot hugged the red line as it slid through the blue line into the clear.

Chris Thorburn of the Winnpeg Jets has words with Deryk Engelland of the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night at the MTS Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Jets would go on to wint the game 2-1. (Courtesy of Getty Images.)

The third period would hold both teams scoreless, ultimately ending in the Jets 2-1 victory over the Penguins, but that doesn’t mean that it was without its tense moments. In the dying minutes of the period, there seemed to be a momentary lapse on politeness as tempers began to flare. Somehow, the Pens came out with the one man advantage but were unable to capitalize. The Pens would try again with just 44 seconds remaining in the period when they pulled Fleury in favour of the sixth man. The effort would, however, prove futile.

Paul Martin led all skaters with 23:54 of ice time while Kris Letang followed close behind  with 22:45.  James Neal and Matt Niskanen each fired four shots in the direction Pavalec while Kris Letang registered three of his own. Overall, the Pens sent  29 pucks in the direction of the Winnipeg net-minder while Marc-Andre Fleury faced 34.  The Pens currently still sit in second in the East. James Neal is ranked second in terms of goals on the season and Kris Letang sits in fifth in terms of assists.

The Pens were without some familiar faces tonight, much as they have been over the course of the last week. However, Tyler Kennedy was also absent from the line up. Kennedy has been reported as suffering concussion like symptoms although it is unknown as to when an incident occurred that would have led to said symptoms. The team was made aware of Kennedy’s condition on Sunday evening and it is expected that his condition will be updated within the next day or so.

The Penguins will travel to Minnesota next where they will take on the Wild tomorrow night in the second game of their two day road trip before returning home to play Montreal on Thursday. Puck drops at 7:30 pm.