October 9, 2019 / 1:56 AM / 11 days ago

Defensemen guide Jets past Penguins

EditorsNote: Fixed Kulikov’s 1st name in 2nd graf

Oct 8, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler (26) skates prior to game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being depleted on the blue line, the visiting Winnipeg Jets got three goals from defensemen Tuesday in a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ville Heinola, Tucker Poolman and Neal Pionk scored, along with winger Nikolaj Ehlers, for the Jets, who played without defensemen Josh Morrissey (upper-body injury) and Dmitry Kulikov (personal reasons).

Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine each added three assists, and goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 37 saves for Winnipeg.

Sidney Crosby scored for Pittsburgh, which, in contrast to the Jets, was depleted at forward. It was the Penguins’ first game since centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad went out with lower-body injuries expected to keep them out for an extended time.

Matt Murray stopped 18 of 22 Winnipeg shots.

Pittsburgh winger Patric Hornqvist exited in the first period after he got hit in the left knee by teammate Kris Letang’s shot. Hornqvist returned, then went out again.

That left the Penguins, who in a rare move opted to dress seven defensemen, with just 10 forwards.

Crosby opened the scoring with his first of the season 32 seconds into the first period. Stationed in front, he batted in a feed from Jake Guentzel.

Heinola, 18, got his first NHL goal at 5:48 of the first to tie it. His shot from the top of the left circle, off Scheifele’s feed from deep, went in off Murray.

At 9:55 of the first, Zach Aston-Reese’s turnover along the wall led to Ehlers’ go-ahead, unassisted goal. Ehlers snapped it past Murray’s glove from the inner edge of the right circle to make it 2-1.

Poolman struck 54 seconds into the second period, on a shot through traffic from the top of the slot, for a 3-1 Jets lead.

At 11:31 of the second, Pionk’s acrobatic backhander from a crowd around the crease went under Murray to make it 4-1.

Scheifele appeared to add a goal at 17:33 of the second, but Pittsburgh successfully challenged that the Jets were offside entering the offensive zone.

—Field Level Media

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