The Pittsburgh Penguins (43-25-11) have a chance to clinch a playoff spot against the Detroit Red Wings (31-38-10) at Little Caesars Arena, tonight. The teams have a rivalry going back over a decade to the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. Detroit won the first go-round but the tenth anniversary of the Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup Championship approaching.
The teams are tied all-time 76-76-16 despite Detroit winning three of the last five.
The Penguins will reach the postseason with a win and move into a tie for second place with the New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division. After a roller coaster season with inconsistent play and large personnel turnover, the endgame is in sight. The Penguins are faced with a chance to pick up points against inferior opponents the next three games. In 16 games during March, the Penguins earned points in 13 with a record of 10-3-3.
However, the Penguins announced more bad news after the morning skate. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin joined the injury list with a lower body injury. Read the injury report and updates from head coach Mike Sullivan here.
Despite not making the playoffs, Detroit continues to finish the year strong. They look to expand on a record 7-3-0 in their last ten games and extend their current five-game winning streak; It’s Detroit’s longest streak since they won six in a row from Oct. 17-27, 2016. Historically the franchise has done well despite their recent stumbles. Since Mike and Marian Ilitch purchased the Red Wings in 1982, Detroit has won a combined 1,649 regular-season and playoff games, more than any other franchise in the NHL.
Yesterday, they rewarded their head coach Jeff Blashill with a new two-year contract.
The Penguins inched closer to clinching a playoff spot with a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, Sunday. The Penguins used a dominant fourth line to keep Carolina in check and to account for the majority of their scoring. Garrett Wilson (2) scored his second goal of the year when he whacked in a rebound amidst chaos in front of the net. The goal was set up by rookie Adam Johnson, who was playing in his fifth NHL game. Johnson’s assist was his first NHL point. Matt Cullen (7) also added a goal in the first period.
After a scoreless second period, the Penguins added a dagger just 46 seconds into the third. Dominik Simon stole a puck and raced into the Carolina zone. He tapped a no-look drop pass to Patric Hornqvist, who one-timed it for his first even strength goal since Jan. 5. The marker seemed to lift a weight off the Swede’s shoulders.
Matt Murray started his eighth straight game and was a large factor as the Penguins beat their Metroplotian Division foe. Murray stopped 37 of 38 shots for his 28th win. Curtis McElhinney lost his 11th game of the year while making 25 saves.
Detroit extended their winning streak to five with a 6-3 effort against the Boston Bruins Sunday. Anthony Mantha (20, 21, 22) scored a hat trick to lead the offensive punch for his team while Boston’s Brad Marchand (35) added to his team-leading goal total. Jimmy Howard started in net and stopped 31 of 34 shots. Jaroslav Halak ended up tagged with the loss but made 22 saves for Boston.
Brian Dumoulin (Day-to-day)
Evgeni Malkin (Upper-body, Skating)
Kris Letang (Upper-body, Day-to-day)
Chad Ruhwedel (Long term, skating)
Zach Aston Reese (Longer Term)
Mike Green (Virus)
Trevor Daley (Back)
Jonathan Ericsson (Lower body)
Michael Rasmussen (Upper body)
Thomas Vanek (Mid-body)
Jacob de la Rose (Heart rate)
Frans Nielsen (Upper body)
Luke Glendening (Lower body)
Jonathan Bernier (Upper body)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||24.1% (7-29, 11th)||72% (7-25, 28th)|
|Vancouver Canucks||22.2% (6-27, 17th)||60% (10-25, 32nd)|
Penguins -190 Over/Under -6, -10
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Rickard Rakell|
|Danton Heinen||Ryan Poehling||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Brock McGinn||Sam Poulin||Drew O'Connor|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||Jeff Petry|
|P.O Joseph||Jan Rutta|