Key Observations Heading Into Game 69 Between the Penguins and Red Wings

Gameday - Game 69

By: Joe Guzy

Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings enter the second of a back-to-back weekend with a bit of a chip on their shoulders. The Penguins fell 0-2 to the Boston Bruins while the Red Wings fell 2-7 to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins (39-19-10) can snatch second place in the Metropolitan Division with a win. The Red Wings (37-19-11) have a chance to distance themselves from the fast approaching Bruins in the Atlantic Division. Some important points on the line and some disappointing losses yesterday set up what will hopefully be a great game.

The Penguins are coming off of a frustrating loss to the Boston Bruins. A loss on the scoreboard yes, but also the loss of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the majority of the game. Sidney Crosby was as late as a late scratch can be while Evgeni Malkin left the game with what seemed to be a minor injury. Despite the loss, the Penguins managed to hold the Bruins to just one flukey goal and an empty-netter. They made a strong push for the equalizer but fell the victim to the goal post more times than one would like to count. The remaining roster, particularly Patric Hornqvist, played the right way for the remainder of the game. If the Penguins can play anything like they did on Saturday, with just one of their star centermen, a win is looking pretty good right now. The Penguins called up Andrew Ebbett from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after Saturday’s game. With Craig Adams still available to play, the move is no hint to whether we will see Crosby or Malkin back in the lineup. Expect to see Marc-Andre Fleury in net as Thomas Greiss was between the pipes against the Bruins.

Of the seven goals the Red Wings let up to the Philadelphia Flyers, three were against the Red Wings’ 20th-ranked penalty kill. Combining those with the other four at even strength made for the first time the Red Wings have given up seven goals in a game since 2013. Despite the loss, the Red Wings earned a small victory with one of their deadline acquisitions, Erik Cole, finally contributing with a goal after some lackluster performances over the past two weeks. Jimmy Howard was in net for all seven goals. The last backup in net for the Red Wings was Jonas Gustavsson who was pulled on Monday in favor of Jimmy Howard against the Boston Bruins. With many other teams struggling for points, the possibility of starting Howard two days straight is a definite possibility.
**UPDATE: Petr Mrazek will be in net for the Red Wings.**

Both teams have lost to the Boston Bruins in the past week. Both of their last wins came against the Edmonton Oilers. Both teams are playing in the second game of a back-to-back weekend. Both teams have lost the first game of said back-to-back weekend.

A loss for the Red Wings would give the Bruins a chance to catch them in the standings before their next game on Thursday. A win gives them some breathing room.

A loss for the Penguins doesn’t really mean much. However, after a valiant effort yesterday and still coming up empty, a win would certainly lift their spirits along with their chances of taking the Metropolitan Division.

Two valuable points on the line this afternoon. Bonus if the Penguins can win in regulation/overtime as the Islanders also have 34 regulation/overtime wins.