With a fully healthy lineup, fresh off the All Star break and with Sean Monahan making his team debut, the offensive struggles continued for the Winnipeg Jets in Pittsburgh Tuesday night.
After scoring just 11 goals in their last seven games heading into the break, the Jets could not find the back of the net in a 3-0 loss to the Penguins, extending their losing streak to a season-high four games.
With both teams coming off a long layoff, the game got off to a slow start but Pittsburgh got on the board first thanks to a Jets turnover.
From behind the Winnipeg net, Josh Morrissey tried to hit Adam Lowry in the slot with a short pass but the Jets’ captain couldn’t handle the puck. Kris Letang came in from the point to collect the loose puck, skated into the slot and beat Connor Hellebuyck with a hard backhand shot at the 7:16 mark.
Winnipeg managed just one shot on goal through the first ten minutes and had only three in the first 17 minutes before showing some life in the waning moments with Vladislav Namestnikov getting the best chance in close but Tristan Jarry shut the door.
The Penguins wound up with an 11-8 edge in shots on goal through 20 minutes.
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Early in the second, the Jets tried to push for the equalizer but a match penalty assessed to Brenden Dillon stunted any momentum.
As Noel Acciari carried the puck towards the Winnipeg blue line, he was caught in the head by Dillon’s left shoulder, bloodying and dizzying the Penguins forward. Dillon was kicked out of the game, giving Pittsburgh a five-minute power play that they took full advantage of.
Winnipeg killed the first three minutes of the penalty before Jeff Carter cashed in from right in front of the net. An Erik Karlsson point shot was redirected by Lars Eller, slowing it down as it fell to Carter who swooped it past Hellebuyck to make it 2-0.
It appeared that the Jets might get away with just one goal allowed on the match penalty but with just 12 seconds to go, the Pens doubled up as a bouncing puck crossed the crease to the stick of Bryan Rust, who potted it to make it 3-0 for a Pittsburgh team that had just one power play goal in its previous seven games.
The Jets failed badly on a power play late in the period as they faced a steep mountain to climb with 20 minutes to go.
Mark Scheifele appeared to get Winnipeg on the board in the third but his goal was taken off the board after a coach’s challenge found that the play leading to the goal was offside, which was as close as the Jets got to scoring in the third period.
Jarry picked up his league-leading sixth shutout in the win, turning aside all 24 shots he faced while Hellebuyck also stopped 24 shots in defeat.
It’s the second time in three games that the Jets have been shutout and the third time in their last seven outings.
They will try to break that tough run of play when they visit the Flyers Thursday night.
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