Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Winnipeg Jets
Tip-off: Friday, February 15, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
James Neal’s efforts sometimes are not that noticeable while playing alongside Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but YouWager experts consider that he’s close to reaching superstar status.
The 25 year-old player would like to move forward with his efforts tonight as the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins try to avenge a rare defeat versus the Winnipeg Jets.
After suffering a pair of 3-1 losses in a home-and-home set against the New Jersey Devils, the Penguins (9-5-0) bounced back Wednesday with a 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Crosby had a goal and two assists for his fourth three-point effort in seven games, while Neal scored twice — including the go-ahead goal early in the third period – in addition to an assist.
The 25 year-old Neal finished fourth in the league last season with a career-high 40 goals and leads the team with 10, half of which have come in his last five games.
Neal had five goals and two assists over a three-game stretch in this series before going pointless in a 4-2 defeat versus the Jets on Jan. 25. The Penguins have outscored Winnipeg 73-43 in going 15-3-0 in the past 18 NHL games.
Crosby, who scored twice in January’s matchup, has eight goals and eight assists during a five-game point streak in this series. The 25 year-old player recorded 32 points in his last 15 meetings versus the Jets (5-6-1).
According to the NHL live lines Winnipeg comes into the weekend trying to recover from a stretch of five defeats in seven games after falling 3-2 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Blake Wheeler set up Andrew Ladd’s team-leading fifth and six goals, however the Jets went scoreless in three power-play opportunities and is 0 for 8 over its last three games.
Winnipeg made two trades Wednesday, acquiring Eric Tangradi from Pittsburgh for a seventh-round draft pick and sending Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Devils for two picks.