Morning Skate: Penguins at Red Wings Preview

Game 69

7:30p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit, NHL Network (US)

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Penguins Blog: PensBurgh

Even with points at a premium, I have this game chalked up as a loss. I'm not trying to be negative here. This isn't a reverse jinx situation either. Unless the Penguins are playing the Flyers, they seem to be a pretty a good team. Yes, I know they have as many, if not more, injuries than the Red Wings, but they're still good. It doesn't really matter to me if their bottom six forwards are all AHLers. They have arguably the two best players in the world in their lineup and their top six makes up for the fact their bottom six is crap. I have a hard time realistically seeing Mike Babcock's crazy band of characters knocking off Sid and Geno.

With that said, crazier things have happened in the past. If the Red Wings could find a way to win, hell, if the they could find a way to get ONE point, it would go a very long way. The Wings got a nice gift last night from Stevie and Flip's Lightning. Tampa topped the Maple Leafs in regulation. I think Toronto has got to be Detroit's target right now in the playoff chase. The Wings are five points back and have three games in hand, plus a head-to-head matchup. Games in hand mean nothing if you don't take advantage of them. Can the Red Wings find a hero tonight?

The Expected Lineup

Forwards

Johan Franzen David Legwand Daniel Alfredsson
Tomas Tatar Riley Sheahan Gustav Nyquist
Drew Miller Luke Glendening Todd Bertuzzi
Landon Ferraro Cory Emmerton Teemu Pulkkinen

Defensemen

Niklas Kronwall Brendan Smith
Kyle Quincey Danny DeKeyser
Brian Lashoff Jakub Kindl

Goaltenders

Jimmy Howard (starting)
Petr Mrazek


Scratches: Adam Almquist

Injuries: Jonathan Ericsson (finger), Justin Abdelkader (cut leg), Tomas Jurco (ribs), Joakim Andersson (foot), Daniel Cleary (knee), Darren Helm (concussion), Pavel Datsyuk (zest), Stephen Weiss (groin), Henrik Zetterberg (back), Mikael Samuelsson (who cares), Jonas Gustavsson (groin) & holy shit this an even longer list than before.

PENGUINS THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
45-19-4 (94 pts; 1st in Metro) Record 31-24-13 (75 pts; 4th in WC Race)
3.07 (5th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.54 (19th in NHL)
2.44 (6th) Goals Against Per Game 2.68 (14th)
24.0% (2nd) Power Play % 17.2% (18th)
86.3% (2nd) Penalty Kill % 83.9% (9th)
Sidney Crosby (33 goals) Goal Leader Gustav Nyquist (19 goals)
Sidney Crosby (91 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (48 points)

Opponent Outlook

Player to Fear: Sidney Crosby

X-Factor: Marc-Andre Fleury

Familiar Faces: Chris Conner (pretty sure he's injured though).

Thumbs up (One Thing to Like About Pittsburgh): 2008

Thumbs down (One Thing to Dislike About Pittsburgh): 2009

Bullets of Knowledge

  • The Red Wings are 62-59-16-3 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Penguins.

  • Last 10 games: Pittsburgh 5-4-1. Detroit 5-4-1.

  • Howard is 2-0-1 with a 1.93 GAA, .939 SV% in 4 career games against Pittsburgh.

Prediction: No fly zone.

Let's Go Red Wings.
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