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PITTSBURGH — The Winnipeg Jets got the franchise’s first road win against the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2006, 4-1 at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.
Connor Hellebuyck made 37 saves, and Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele each had three assists for the Jets, who split a four-game season-opening trip. The franchise had lost 18 straight games (0-14-4) in Pittsburgh since Dec. 27, 2006, when the Atlanta Thrashers won 4-2 at Mellon Arena.
“I don’t know if I’d like to go back in history because I feel like we’ve played good games here,” Hellebuyck said. “They’ve always been a good team over there, and we only get to be here once (per season). It’s nice to finally crack that, but I just think we were playing another game. Thought we came with the right mindset.”
[WATCH: All Jets vs. Penguins highlights]
Sidney Crosby scored his first goal of the season, and Matt Murray made 18 saves for the Penguins, who have lost two of three games to start the season. Pittsburgh used seven defensemen in its first game without centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad, who are out longer term with lower-body injuries.
Crosby gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead on the first shot of the game 32 seconds into the first period when he redirected a pass from Jake Guentzel.
“We made a couple mistakes that end up in the back of our net,” Crosby said. “Besides that, we played a pretty good game. I thought we deserved better. But you make mistakes, you put yourself in position to lose games. We did that. I think overall, we did some good things.”
Ville Heinola tied it 1-1 at 5:48 with a slap shot. It was the first goal in four NHL games for the defenseman, who was selected in the first round (No. 20) of the 2019 NHL Draft.
Nikolaj Ehlers put the Jets ahead 2-1 when he sent a snap shot past Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson at 9:55 of the first, and Tucker Poolman made it 3-1 with a shot under Murray’s right arm at 54 seconds of the second period.
Neal Pionk extended the lead to 4-1 by backhanding the puck through a scrum in the crease at 11:31 of the second. The goal was upheld following a review.
“I saw it on the side of the net. Tried to jam it in,” Pionk said. “Then I got turned around and I saw it in between my legs, and I kind of just swiped it. Got up and I think [Scheifele] told me it went in. So perfect.”
Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist left the game midway through the first period with a lower-body injury. Sullivan said Hornqvist was being evaluated following the game and there would not be an update until after Pittsburgh practices Wednesday.
Forward Zach Aston-Reese and Guentzel temporarily went to the locker room after each took a stick to the face in the second period, leaving the Penguins with nine forwards for two stretches. Aston-Reese returned midway through the second, and Guentzel came back later that period.
They said it
“I thought through two periods we played as hard as we possibly could. I think in the third, [the Penguins] changed gears a little bit and then we just weathered it. But we were still smart in most of those situations.” — Jets coach Paul Maurice
“We had a shortened bench there for a lot of the game and guys competed pretty hard. … There are pros and cons to it. We can put a guy like Crosby and put him between the fourth-line wings, for example. It presents a particular challenge for our opponents with a matchup.” — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan
Need to know
The first eight of the Jets/Thrashers’ 18 straight losses in Pittsburgh came before the relocation from Atlanta, starting with a 2-1 loss March 24, 2007. … Crosby passed Jean Beliveau for 41st on the NHL points list with 1,220 (447 goals, 773 assists). … Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov did not play after being granted a personal leave Tuesday. He is celebrating the birth of his second child, according to a post from his wife’s Instagram page. … Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury sustained in warmups before a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Sunday. … Penguins forward Sam Lafferty had four shots, four hits and was minus-1 his NHL debut, playing 15:30. He was raised less than 100 miles east of Pittsburgh in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. … Pittsburgh defenseman John Marino also made his NHL debut, finishing with a shot, a hit and an even rating in 10:30. … Brandon Tanev faced his former team for the first time since agreeing to terms on a six-year contract with the Penguins on July 1. The forward, who played his four NHL seasons with the Jets, had nine hits, two blocks and was minus-1 in 16:43.
Jets: Host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)
Penguins: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, PRIME, NHL.TV)