The Winnipeg Jets played ugly, the Pittsburgh Penguins tossed up a touchdown for the second night in a row and the result Sunday night was predictable.
Sam Lafferty played the bounces well on the first two-goal game of his career, while Zach Aston-Reese and Jake Guentzel also scored twice to spark the Penguins to a 7-2 victory over a sluggish and sloppy Jets squad at Bell MTS Place.
The Jets (4-3-0) botched an opportunity to post a fourth consecutive win. Pittsburgh (4-2-0) fired 13 goals in 24 hours after hammering the Minnesota Wild 7-4 on Saturday night in St. Paul.
The Pens were a much fresher group than the Jets, despite the fact both squad were on the second half of a back-to-backs. Winnipeg rallied to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime Saturday.
Jets goalie Laurent Brossoit allowed seven goals on 28 shots.
Mathieu Perreault opened the scoring with a freaky goal just 1:47 into the game, marking the only time this season the Jets have scored first. His centring pass from the corner boards deflected off the stick of Pens’ Jared McCann and fluttered past goalie Tristan Jarry, making his first start of the season.
The lead was short-lived as Aston-Reese batted a rebound Brossoit just over two minutes later.
After a mundane finish to the first period and an equally tedious pace for half of the middle frame, the Penguins took command with a pair of goals in just 41 seconds. Guentzel converted a pretty touch pass from Brian Dumoulin with the Jets a man short and then Lafferty stuffed a puck behind Brossoit to make it 3-1 after the frozen biscuit hit the backboards and bounced in front.
The Jets trimmed the lead with a power-play goal of their own at the 10-minute mark. Patrik Laine’s shot hit a leg and Mark Scheifele fired the loose puck into an empty cage with Jarry turned the other way.
Dominik Simon inflated the lead with another goal with just four minutes left in the middle period. Marcus Pettersson’s point shot hit Laine’s stick and bounced off Simon’s foot, squirted to the side of Brossoit and was poked in by Simon.
Laine was replaced by Adam Lowry on the top line for the final shift of the period, a message from coach Paul Maurice, perhaps, for puck watching in the corner and then giving the goal scorer a free route to the net. Ehlers played the final period on the left side with Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, while Laine joined Andrew Copp and Kyle Connor.
Lafferty added his second goal of the night and third in 24 hours in the third period when his harmless wrister skimmed off Anthony Bitetto’s skate and sailed behind Laurent. Guentzel beat Brossoit high to the glove side for his team-leading fourth of the season, and Aston-Reese poured salt on the wound with a shorthanded effort late in the final frame.
Blue-liner Ville Heinola was a healthy scratch for the second night in a row, while fellow rookie David Gustafsson has yet to slot in at forward through seven games this season.
Winnipeg hosts the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the New York Islanders on Thursday at 7 p.m.
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