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Game 80, Penguins vs. Red Wings: Lines, Starting Goalies & How to Watch



Pittsburgh Penguins game, Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT — The Pittsburgh Penguins got to their game, as they like to say, early Thursday.

And, for a change, they stayed there for 60 minutes in what became a 4-1 victory over Minnesota at PPG Paints Arena.

It was the kind of focused, urgency-driven effort the Penguins will need — have needed for quite a while, actually — several more times if they hope to extend their streak of consecutive playoff appearances to 17.

They trail Florida and the New York Islanders by one point in the fight for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots and all three clubs have three games remaining, so the Penguins don’t have complete control over whether they get in.

But they could enhance their chances by winning their final three games — all against opponents that will sit out the postseason — beginning with a nationally televised one against Detroit this afternoon at Little Caesars Arena.

The Penguins lead the Red Wings, who were formally eliminated from playoff contention Thursday, by eight points in the East, but not because they’ve fared well against them this season.

They suffered a catastrophic 5-4 loss to Detroit at home Dec. 29, when the Penguins built a 4-0 lead before the first intermission … then allowed five unanswered goals, capped by Jake Walman’s game-winner at 2:13 of overtime.

Eleven days ago, the Penguins went into Little Caesars Arena with a chance to earn a measure of revenge and redemption, and left with a 7-4 defeat after giving up four goals in the third period, including three by former teammate David Perron.

Had the Penguins taken two of three very gettable points out of those games, their position in the playoff race today would be far less precarious than it is.

While it remains to be seen how the Red Wings will react to officially being out of contention for a playoff spot, they have been playing well of late, going 4-1-1 in their past six games.

Of course, it also is difficult to predict what Detroit will do if the Penguins again, you know, get to their game. Especially if they commit to keeping it there for 60 minutes.

Updated Pittsburgh Penguins Lines











Expected Detroit Red Wings Lines











Special Teams

Penguins power play: 59 for 279, 21.2%, 17th in NHL

Penguins penalty-kill: 54 for 254, 78.7%, 17th in NHL (tied)

Red Wings power play: 57 for 261, 21.8%, 14th in NHL

Red Wings penalty-kill: 51 for 239, 78.7%, 17th in NHL (tied)

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes

Sidney Crosby’s late-season scoring drought continues. He has just three points, all assists, in his past seven games and still needs three points to reach 1,500 for his career.

Kris Letang is two points shy of becoming the fourth active defenseman to record 40 or more in 10 seasons.

The Penguins had been on a 6-0-1 roll against Detroit before going 0-1-1 in their first two meetings this season.

Evgeni Malkin has 16 goals and 24 assists in 40 career games against the Red Wings.

Rickard Rakell needs two goals to reach 30 for the third time in his career and two points to reach 60 for the second time. He has 19 points in 17 career points against Detroit.

Both teams have 23 victories when scoring the first goal of the game and 16 in games decided by three or more goals.

Detroit has been outscored in the second period, 97-74. The Penguins have outscored their opponents by almost an identical margin, 93-74, during those 20 minutes.

Thanks mostly to his third-period hat trick 11 days ago, David Perron has a team-high four goals against the Penguins this season.

Former Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta does not have a point in five career games against his old club.

Red Wings center Pius Suter does not have a goal in nine games.

How to Watch


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