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Penguins vs. Red Wings, Game 74: Lines, Notes & How to Watch

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT — Forgive the Pittsburgh Penguins if they enter their game against Detroit tonight at Little Caesars Arena confident that they’ll return home with a couple of points.

After all, the Penguins have played some pretty good hockey over the past eight days and the Red Wings are just 3-11-1 in their past 15 games, with losses in their past three at home.

What’s more, the Penguins are 6-0-2 in their past eight games against the Red Wings, including victories in their past three visits to Little Caesars Arena.

But if they are tempted to look past this game, the Penguins need only flash back to their most recent meeting with Detroit, Dec. 28 at PPG Paints Arena.

That night, the Penguins ran up a 4-0 lead on goals by Drew O’Connor, Jeff Carter, and Jason Zucker (2) in the first period and seemed to be headed for a low-stress victory … until Detroit scored five unanswered goals, punctuated by defenseman Jake Walman’s game-winner at 2:13 of overtime.

That was one of the Penguins’ most epic collapses of the season, the kind of failing that has cost them quite a few points in the battle for a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

They suffered another of those late-game lapses Saturday, when Washington erased a 3-0 Penguins lead in the third period, but Evgeni Malkin’s goal with 80 seconds left in regulation allowed them to escape with a 4-3 victory.

That allowed the Penguins to climb within one point of the New York Islanders, who hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, although New York’s 5-1 victory against New Jersey allowed the Islanders to restore their three-point advantage.

The Penguins have two games in hand on New York so, in theory, have it within their control to finish ahead of the Islanders, since those two games could yield four points.

Overtaking New York, however, likely will require that the Penguins win a healthy percentage of their remaining nine games.

Especially any in which they take a 4-0 lead.

But despite how the Penguins’ first meeting with the Red Wings turned sour, coach Mike Sullivan said it won’t be a topic of conversation before the game, and isn’t being viewed as warning of how the course of a game can be altered abruptly.

“We’ve had a fair amount of cautionary tales,” he said after the Penguins’ optional game-day skate today. “I think we just have to make sure that we take advantage of the opportunity that’s in front of us.

“Everyone knows where we’re at. Everybody knows the opportunity that’s there. We have a chance to help ourselves and grab some points here to try to solidify a playoff spot, and that’s where our focus is.”

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines

Guentzel-Crosby-Rust

Zucker-Malkin-Granlund

Heinen-Poehling-Rakell

O’Connor-Carter-Archibald

Defense

Joseph-Letang

Dumoulin-Petry

Friedman-Ruhwedel

Goalie

DeSmith

Expected Detroit Red Wings Lines

Kubalik-Larkin-Perron

Suter-Copp-Raymond

Hirose-Veleno-Erne

Luff-Czarnik-Berggren

Defense

Walman-Seider

Maatta-Hagg

Lindstrom-Oesterle

Goalie

Nedeljkovic

Special Teams

Penguins power play: 54 for 251, 21.5%, 15th in NHL

Penguins penalty-kill: 48 for 231, 79.2%, 17th in NHL

Red Wings power play: 50 for 247, 20.2%, 21st in NHL

Red Wings penalty-kill: 46 for 218, 78.9%, 18th in NHL

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes

Evgeni Malkin has 16 goals and 22 assists in 25 career games against the Red Wings. He has recorded at least one point in each of the 11 games he has played in Detroit.

Jake Guentzel has a three-game points streak.

Sidney Crosby does not have an assist in his past five games.

Kris Letang is averaging 24 minutes, 41 seconds of ice time per game, 10th-most in the NHL.

The Penguins have been outscored, 86-77, in the third period in 2022-23.

Detroit does not have a hat trick this season.

The Red Wings have played three games this season in which the shots were even, and lost all of them in regulation. The Penguins are 2-0 in games when the shots were even.

Detroit captain Dylan Larkin has seven goals and seven assists in 18 career games against the Penguins.

Former Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta is having a solid season with the Red Wings, putting up five goals and 14 assists in 68 games. He does not have a point in four career games against the Penguins.

How to Watch

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: 105.9 the X