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Malkin is Back, Penguins Gm79: Lines, Notes & Preview vs. Red Wings

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Detroit Red Wings

The last time the Pittsburgh Penguins (44-23-11) faced the Detroit Red Wings (30-38-10), things got ugly. The Penguins became the first team in the salary cap era to score 11 goals in a game as they dismantled Detroit 11-2. Every Penguins shot seemed to light the lamp. The Penguins have a few games left before the second season comes calling and need to straighten out a few details. They’ll face the increasingly disinterested Red Wings again on Saturday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena.

The puck drops just after 12:30 p.m.

Evgeni Malkin will return from exile on Saturday. His four-game suspension for cross-checking is over. However, head coach Mike Sullivan had some criticism for his center, calling his even-strength play “sporadic.” Sullivan said Bryan Rust would remain on Malkin’s line to help that issue. Pittsburgh Penguins practice report.

On Thursday night, the Penguins were potent with a 4-0 win over the Boston Bruins. The Penguins yielded 52 shots but limited scoring chances and quality shots. Boston shot from the rafters, but the Penguins had an early lead courtesy of Jake Guentzel’s first goal of the game. Guentzel scored two more for the hat trick, and goalie Casey DeSmith stopped all 52 shots.

Pesky but skilled winger Brad Marchand, who was suspended in the two teams’ last meeting for poking Tristan Jarry in the face with his stick, was a non-factor.

The game is the first of a weekend back-to-back for the Penguins. They’ll face the lowly Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon.

Friday night, the Washington Capitals beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-0, so they remained in a virtual tie with the Penguins remain for third place. The Penguins do have a couple more ROWs and a better goal differential.

While the Penguins are battling the Capitals for third place, the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes battle for the top of the Metro Division. Third place will face the loser of the first-place battle, and the loser of the Penguins-Capitals race will face the Florida Panthers in Round One.

The Penguins escaped harm when Jeff Carter practiced on Friday. He left the game on Thursday in the third period but will not miss time. However, Jason Zucker has a non-COVID illness. Zucker made the trip with the team, but his status is uncertain.

Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin is out for the season after core muscle surgery. Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff recently summed up the Red Wings season, Move Over Dead Wings, These Wings are Deader.

Detroit does feature Calder Trophy favorite Moritz Seider and talented rookie Lucas Raymond.

Casey DeSmith is the likely starter in net for the Penguins, but with the back-to-back and a heavy workload on Thursday, head coach Mike Sullivan could turn to Louis Domingue. The Penguins will announce the starting goalie at 10:30 a.m.

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines

LWCRW
Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust
Rickard RakellEvgeni MalkinKasperi Kapanen
Jason ZuckerJeff CarterDanton Heinen
Brock McGinnTeddy BluegerEvan Rodrigues
LDRD
Mike MathesonKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino
Mark FriedmanChad Ruhwedel
Goalie
Tristan Jarry
Louis Domingue

Expected Detroit Red Wings Lines from Detroit Hockey Now:

Bertuzzi-Velano-Raymond

Vrana-Suter-Zadina

Erne-Rasmussen-Sundqvist

Oesterle-Stephens-Gagne

Defense:

DeKeyser-Seider

Staal-Hronek

Walman-Lindstrom

Goalie:

Tomas Greiss

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:

*Detroit’s power play is near the bottom (16.6%, 26th), and the PK is at the bottom (74%, 31st). The Penguins PP is 17th (20.6%), and the PK remains near the top at 86.4% (2nd).

*Detroit is pretty good when they get a first-period lead. They are 13-2-3 when leading after one. The Penguins are 22-3-2 when leading after the first period.

*The Penguins have won each of their last two trips to Detroit and could win three-straight games here for the first time in team history.

*The Penguins begin their final set of back-to-back games. The Penguins are 12-4-4 in back-to-backs (7-2-1 on the first night; 5-2-3 on the second night).

*The Penguins power play operates at 16.9% (20/118) without Evgeni Malkin in the lineup and 24.2% (29/120) with him.

*Mike Matheson (11-18-29) remains one point shy of becoming just the fourth Penguins defenseman in the last 10 years (since 2012-13 season) to record 30 or more points with the team, along with Kris Letang (9x), Matt Niskanen (1x) and Justin Schultz (1x).

*Rickard Rakell has 15 points (6-9-15) in 14 career games against the Red Wings, including points in three-straight games (2-4-6).

*DeSmith’s 52 saves were the most by a goaltender in a shutout in Penguins history and tied for fifth-most in a shutout by a goaltender in NHL history:

How to Watch:

TV: AT&T SportsNet, NHL Network; Radio: 105.9 The X

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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joe CURSI
joe CURSI
23 days ago

Please no one get hurt! Please no one get hurt!

William Maloni
William Maloni
23 days ago

Where’s Geno on your line chart????

Wasnt
23 days ago
Reply to  William Maloni

Looks like Genos on the 2nd line as usual.
I guess EROD will fill in for Zucker if he’s to sic to play….poor Zucker

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