What's the old saying about playing with fire and getting burned? The Jets did more than just that -- they played with fire while wearing a suit soaked in kerosene and a hat doused with gasoline. A run-and-gun effort against the star-studded Pens wasn't a wise tactic and it cost the Jets a chance to gain some ground in the Eastern Conference standings.
Dept. of Redundancy Dept.: the Jets continue to struggle on the road. Winnipeg is now 11-20-4 away from the MTS Centre after suffering its third straight road defeat. Worth noting: six of the Jets' remaining nine games are on the road. Hello.
The Jets are hanging with the Pens in second when, on a delayed penalty and Pittsburgh's net empty for the extra attacker, Evgeni Malkin hammers a shot past Ondrej Pavelec for a 5-3 lead. On a night when 11 goals were scored, this was the back-breaker for Winnipeg.
Free Press ★★★
★ Evgeni Malkin, C, Pitt. — One of many Pens who stood out. With his mom and dad in the building and fans chanting "M-V-P!," Malkin finished with two goals and three assists to increase his lead in the NHL scoring race.
★★ Sidney Crosby, C, Pitt. — This just in: Crosby’s good. Finished with four assists in his first home game since Dec. 5.
★★★ James Neal, RW, Pitt. — An honourable mention to Bryan Little, who had two goals, but Neal potted his second career hat trick before the game was even 40 minutes old, Big-time finisher now has 35 goals.
1. Pittsburgh, Kennedy 7 (Crosby, Cooke) 2:04
2. Winnipeg, Slater 10 (Glass, Machacek) 3:35
3. Winnipeg, Little 20 (Ladd, Enstrom) 12:51 (pp)
4. Pittsburgh, Neal 33 (Malkin, Crosby) 16:44 (pp)
Penalties -- Byfuglien Wpg (high-sticking) 9:36, Malkin Pgh (double high-sticking) 11:32, Enstrom Wpg (holding) 15:04.
5. Pittsburgh, Neal 34 (Malkin) 1:15
6. Winnipeg, Little 21 (Ladd, Enstrom) 3:54
7. Pittsburgh, Kennedy 8 (Crosby, Cooke) 6:55
8. Pittsburgh, Malkin 42 (Crosby, Martin) 11:31
9. Winnipeg, Stapleton 9 (Maxwell, Machacek) 14:39
10. Pittsburgh, Neal 35 (Malkin, Orpik) 17:03
Penalties -- None.
11. Pittsburgh, Malkin 43 (Kunitz, Neal) 2:07
12. Pittsburgh, Dupuis 21 (Staal, Sullivan) 13:27
Penalty -- Little Wpg (tripping) 18:55.
Goal (shots-saves) -- Winnipeg: Pavelec (L,27-25-7)(24-19), Mason (12:50 second)(11-8); Pittsburgh: Thiessen (W,3-0-0).
Power plays (goals-chances) -- Winnipeg: 1-2; Pittsburgh: 1-3.
Referees -- Chris Lee, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen -- Scott Cherrey, Scott Driscoll.
Attendance -- 18,589 (18,387).
-- Ed Tait