Jason Zucker believes Pittsburgh goalie Tristan Jarry is on his way to having a statement season.
Jarry had another big game on Monday, backstopping the Penguins to their third straight win, a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The netminder made 30 saves for the win, which followed a pair of shutouts against Montreal and Toronto.
“He’s playing with great confidence and that’s huge for us,” Zucker said. “We knew that over the summer he was going to take himself very seriously, and the training seriously, and come back and want to have a statement year. And this trip, I think, was huge for him.”
Danton Heinen scored the go-ahead goal at 3:33 of the third period. Zucker and Jake Guentzel, with an empty-netter, also had goals for the Penguins (8-6-4), who were ending a three-game Canadian road trip.
Dominic Toninato scored for the Jets (9-5-4), who’ve lost three straight (0-2-1).
Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves for Winnipeg, which is 7-2-1 at Canada Life Centre this season.
“I didn’t like our game tonight,” said Kyle Connor, the Jets’ leading scorer. “I think we could have come out a lot better. A bit sloppy, missed passes, kind of circling and not staying under pucks.
“I mean, the last three or four games now, I don’t think we’ve really generated too much.”
Connor had a breakaway in the third period, but lost control of the puck and couldn’t get any zip on his shot.
Winnipeg led 1-0 after the first period and the game was tied 1-1 after two.
“We got on our heels a little bit in the first period,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “Give [the Jets] credit, they came out hard on their toes and they’re a talented team, but I thought we did a pretty good job just grabbing hold of ourselves and just try to turn the momentum a little bit, just simplifying the game.”
Jarry robbed Toninato early in the first period, but the centreman ended the goalie’s shutout streak 10:27 into the game when he got a loose puck and fired in a low shot.
Winnipeg outshot the visitors 11-5 in the first, and carried a power play into the second after Penguins defenceman Marcus Pettersson was called for interference with 22 seconds left in the period.
The Jets had one shot with the man advantage, but Pittsburgh forward Teddy Blueger also put a short-handed shot on Hellebuyck that bounced off the netminder.
Pittsburgh had a pair of power plays in the middle period.
Hellebuyck got a piece of a Guentzel shot, the visitors’ only shot with the first man advantage.
Zucker then scored six seconds after the second power play ended, with high shot that beat Hellebuyck on the glove side at 14:29.
The Jets had a late power play but couldn’t grab the lead. Both teams had 14 shots on goal in the second.
“The shots are there, the zone time is there, but we are not heavy enough net front,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “But we’re talking about a period, for me.
“Before we blow this thing up, we had a tough third period here. We were pretty good other than that.”
Hellebuyck was tested early in the third period, turning aside three Pittsburgh shots in the first minute.
It was a rebound that foiled him.
Chad Ruhwedel took a shot from the point and Heinen skated to the front of the net, putting in the rebound for a 2-1 lead at 3:33.
Guentzel beat Mark Scheifele to the puck for a wraparound empty-netter at 17:45. Jarry picked up an assist.
Guentzel is on a six-game points streak with five goals and two assists.
Winnipeg heads out for a three-game road trip, beginning Wednesday in Columbus. Pittsburgh hosts Vancouver the same night.