Paced by the play of goalie Tristan Jarry, the Pittsburgh Penguins have used a pair of road victories to find their way out of an extended rough stretch.
Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets hope a return home will help them rebound from back-to-back road losses.
The Penguins look to sweep a three-game Canadian road stretch Monday night, when they aim to keep the Jets from a fourth straight home victory.
After starting 3-0-2, Pittsburgh muddled through a 2-6-2 stretch before winning 6-0 at Montreal on Thursday and 2-0 at Toronto on Saturday. Jarry (7-4-3, 2.17 goals-against average), who yielded eight goals in losing his previous two starts, stopped all 50 combined shots he faced against the Canadiens and Maple Leafs.
If Jarry gets the call again Monday, he’ll be in position to record three consecutive shutouts for the first time during an NHL career that began in 2016-17. The Penguins last accomplished the feat from March 26-30, 2013.
“I’m just going night in and night out focusing on my game, doing everything I can — and the guys are doing a great job getting blocks, getting clears when we need to,” Jarry said. “I think that has been the key to our success, especially as of lately.”
Jarry has started four straight games while backup Casey DeSmith allowed 14 goals and the team has yet to win in his three starts this season.
While Jarry and the Penguins defense have been strong, teammate Jake Guentzel remains the club’s most consistent offensive performer.
Pittsburgh’s leader with 14 points, Guentzel can match a career high with a goal in a fifth consecutive contest Monday. He has at least one point in five straight games.
“I’m just trying to throw pucks on the net and it’s just going in right now,” Guentzel told the Penguins’ official website. “Sometimes you get the bounces, and you feed off it when it’s going in.”
Guentzel scored twice and Jarry made 27 saves in Pittsburgh’s most recent matchup with Winnipeg, a 7-2 road victory back on Oct. 13, 2019.
However, these Jets have outscored their opponents 34-19 at home while going 7-1-1 this season. They have totaled 12 goals during their three-game home winning streak.
Winnipeg, though, managed just three goals during a pair of one-goal losses at Edmonton and Vancouver on Thursday and Friday.
Special teams have been a problem for the Jets of late. They’re just 1-for-16 on the power play over the last seven games. In just the past three, they’re 1-for-9 while opponents are 4-for-9 with the man-advantage.
“You want to win every game, right?” the Jets’ Nate Schmidt told The Winnipeg Sun. “We found our blueprint, how we need to play. You understand what your team needs and how you need to play.”
One consistent presence for Winnipeg is Nikolaj Ehlers, who has a goal in three straight games and one point in each of his last five.
The Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck has a 1.61 goals-against average while posting a 3-0-3 record in his last six starts. He has a 2.66 GAA in eight career games against Pittsburgh.
Winnipeg backup Eric Comrie is 2-1-0 with a 1.97 GAA at home this season.
–Field Level Media