The Pittsburgh Penguins used a three goal outburst in the first five minutes of the third period to send the Winnipeg Jets into the Christmas break on a bit of a sour note.
With the score knotted at one a piece after two, James Neal’s 20th goal of the season just 22 seconds into the third period gave Pittsburgh a lead that they would quickly build upon. A Jordan Staal power-play marker at 4:14 gave the Pens a two goal lead and just 40 seconds later Pascal Dupuis made it three to finish off the Jets and the pre-christmas portion of their schedule with a 4-1 victory at the MTS Centre.
Alex Burmistrov got the Jets even with his eighth of the year in the second but it would end up being the only puck they could get past Marc-Andre Fleury who stopped 18 shots to pick up the win.
Winnipeg’s low shot total for the night hardly tells the story however as they were unable to capitalize on several glorious scoring chances in the opening period. Jim Slater hit the cross bar following a solid Jets penalty kill and the line of Andrew Ladd, Kyle Wellwood and Nik Antropov all had point-blank shots but were turned aside by the Pens goaltender.
Blake Wheeler continued his strong play for Winnipeg as he picked up his team leading 20th assist of the year with a beautiful pass that led to the Burmistrov goal.
It was just the second time in 10 December home games that the club failed to record at least a point.
The Jets will enjoy a short break before they pay a visit to Denver for a Tuesday night contest with the hot-at-home Colorado Avalanche.