WINNIPEG – Craig Adams wished he had more nights like this.
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ winger scored his first two goals of the season as the Penguins defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Friday for their 10th win of the season.
“If I had more nights like this I would make a better living,” Adams quipped.
Adams scored one goal at 3:19 of the first period and added an empty-netter with 28 seconds left for the Penguins (10-5-0) seventh road victory.
James Neal scored his 11th goal of the season on the power play in the third, while Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 25 shots but couldn’t notch his first shutout of the season.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd was the spoiler when he took a rebound from a Bryan Little shot and sent the puck low between Fleury’s outstretched glove and the post at 18:25 of the third.
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 25 shots as the Jets lost their third straight at home and went under .500 with a 5-7-1 record.
After a slow start with only six shots on net in the first period, the Jets peppered Fleury with some quality chances.
“They came out hard, threw pucks at the net and put guys there,” Fleury said of the Jets.
“But then the guys on our side, they were blocking shots and taking rebounds away also.”
The biggest blow Winnipeg received was about two and a half minutes into the game when leading scorer Tobias Enstrom was checked into the boards by Pascal Dupuis. No penalty was called.
Enstrom left the ice holding his right arm.
After the game, Jets head coach Claude Noel said Enstrom looked to be in “pretty big pain” when he came to the bench.
He didn’t describe what the injury was, but did warn “it won’t be day-to-day” for the defenceman who entered the game with two goals and 13 points.
Winnipeg did have defenceman Zach Bogosian back for his first game of the season after recovering from wrist surgery. He ended up logging 25 minutes, 38 seconds of ice time.
“It feels good to be back out there,” Bogosian said.
He wasn’t impressed, though, with the five-on-three the Penguins were given just before Neal’s goal.
Neal’s goal at 15:11 of the third period came after the Jets took two penalties 24 seconds apart.
Zach Redmond was called for interference at 13:18 before fellow defenceman Mark Stuart was sent to the box for tripping.
Neal fired the puck from the right face-off circle with a low shot that beat Pavelec. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby assisted.
“Their power play is obviously deadly,” Bogosian said. “I’m not sure how much of a call that was on Redmond.
“It was kind of a buzz kill, but I thought our effort was a lot better.”
Noel said his players needed to dump the puck into better areas in the third period.
“I think that pretty much every player battled hard, but we couldn’t get anything going,” said Noel, whose team hosts Boston on Sunday.
Little said the challenge for he and his teammates is consistently keeping up the pressure.
The Jets were outshot 12-6 in the first period, turned the tables 14-9 in their favour in the second and then were edged 7-6 in the third.
“We showed that when we play hard, we can play and keep up with teams like Pittsburgh,” Little said. “We’ve just got to find a way to do that every day.”
Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma was happy for Adams, adding you don’t check his numbers at the end of the season to see his scoring points.
“I think, you know, he played a highlight game tonight,” Bylsma said.
After a couple swipes at rebounds, Adams recorded his first goal at 3:19 of the first.
The Pens have scored first in an NHL-best 12 games this season, including all nine on the road. They are 9-3 when scoring first.
Defenceman Kris Letang assisted on Adams’ goal, giving him six points in his last six games, including two goals.
Notes: Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik, who assisted on Adams’ second goal, was playing in his 600th NHL game. … Winnipeg forward Eric Tangradi made his debut with the Jets. He was traded from Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a seventh-round pick in this summer’s draft.