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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 15th (All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (9-5-0) at Winnipeg Jets (5-6-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins try to string back-to-back wins together on Friday when they kick off a brief two-game road trip against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.
Pittsburgh rebounded from a home-and-home sweep at the hands of the New Jersey Devils to beat the Ottawa Senators, 4-2, on Wednesday. James Neal scored twice and added an assist in the win for the Penguins, who have won six of their last eight.
"For me it's just to try to find open ice, get in spots where I can shoot the puck," Neal told the team's official website. "When you're playing with guys like (Evgeni Malkin), (Sidney Crosby) and (Chris Kunitz) ... with guys keying on them a little bit more I'm just trying to find open ice. They give me some great passes and if it wasn't for them it wouldn't be that easy."
Neal's heroics could continue on Friday, as most of his damage has come away from home with six of his 10 scores coming on the road. He has five goals and two assists over his last three games overall.
Crosby had a goal and two assists, while Pascal Dupuis also scored for the Penguins in the win. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.
The game also featured a scary moment when Ottawa's young superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson got clipped by the skate of Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke when the two were going for a puck. The end result was a torn Achilles' for Karlsson, who will miss the remainder of the season.
Some felt that it may have been intentional on the part of Cooke, but the NHL disagreed and he will not be subject to any discipline.
"I understand that," Cooke said. "If it was (Crosby) or (Kris Letang), I'm sure the initial reaction in Pittsburgh and within our team would be to be really upset.
"But, if you look at the video, it's purely an accident. ... It was so quick. It's unfortunate."
Winnipeg, meanwhile, lost for the fifth time in seven tries on Tuesday, falling to Philadelphia, 3-2. Andrew Ladd posted both goals in the loss for the Jets.
"Every guy in this room has to look at themselves, first, and realize there's more to give," Ladd told the Winnipeg Sun. "Everybody. It's not OK to just go out there and do your job and come off the ice. We want guys to try to make an impact every time they touch the ice, and make things happen."
Winnipeg was scoreless in three power-play opportunities and is 0-for-8 over its last three games.
"I didn't really care much for the game, certainly the outcome," said Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel.
Al Montoya got the start and yielded two goals on 12 shots in two periods before leaving with a lower-body injury. Ondrej Pavelec spelled him in the third period, allowing one score on 11 chances.
Pavelec, who made 33 saves against the Penguins on Jan. 25, is 2-10-0 against them with a 4.56 GAA - his highest mark against any opponent he's faced more than once.
Winnipeg got the best of the Penguins in that contest last month, but Pittsburgh has won seven of nine and 15 of the last 18 meetings overall, including six of the last nine as the road team.
02/15 10:46:22 ET