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Detroit Red Wings @ Pittsburgh Penguins 4/4/2019: lines, preview, how to watch

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Game 81 offers another chance to clinch a playoff spot.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Detroit Red Wings (32-38-10; 74 points, sixth place in the Atlantic Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (43-26-11; 97 points, third place in the Metropolitan Division)

When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern

How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in the Pittsburgh viewing area, Fox Sports Detroit

Streaming: Also being told NHL.tv is free for the rest of the regular season.

Opponent Track: The Red Wings are up to six wins in a row after beating these Penguins 4-1 on Tuesday night back in the D.

Pens Refresh: It’s been one up-one down for a while so it seems, and that resulted in being down last time.

Season Series: Pittsburgh won 5-2 win back on December 27, and last game of course Detroit won 4-1. This is the final game of the season between these two teams.

SBN Team Counterpart: Winging it in Motown

They said it...

WiiM was pleased with last game:

The Pens were the aggressors for much of the game and it showed in the shot column as they played like a team desperate to clinch a playoff spot. But, the Wings didn’t fold and weathered the storm at times, which led to a pair of goals by Bertuzzi that seemed to lift the spirits on the bench.

Howard looked poised all night between the pipes and was really the team’s backbone tonight, stopping ... Many Wings fans were hoping for a high percentage chance at the first overall pick in June’s draft, but the team has now put together eight wins in their last nine games. Frankly, I’m okay with it because they still seemed destined for a Top 10 pick and any player they welcome into the prospects pool is going to be a good one.

It’s more important right now to see the team finish on a strong note and continue building chemistry together — Bertuzzi, Larkin and Mantha seem destined for greatness.

Jimmy Howard was quite good in that game. He figures to probably play again tonight, I’m guessing because Jonathan Bernier is out with injury and current backup 20-year-old Kaden Fulcher not only sounds like a computer generated name after playing six years deep into a NHL19 franchise, but he also has zero games above the ECHL level this season.

Player Stats at a Glance

via hockey db:

Anthony Mantha is definitely the guy to watch, he’s now on a six game point streak recording a whopping 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in that short stretch.

Tyler Bertuzzi isn’t far behind him though, he’s on a five-game points streak with 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in his heater

Possible Lines

Tyler Bertuzzi - Dylan Larkin - Anthony Mantha

Taro Hirose - Andreas Athanasiou - Darren Helm

Ryan Kuffner - Christoffer Ehn - Martin Frk

Matt Puempel - Dominic Turgeon

Niklas Kronwall - Filip Hronek

Joe Hicketts - Madison Bowey

Jake Chelios - Dylan McIlrath

Luke Witkowski

Jimmy Howard

Kaden Fulcher

And now for the Penguins...

Check the game notes, eh bud?

Possible Lines

Jared McCann - Sidney Crosby - Jake Guentzel

Bryan Rust - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel

Dominik Simon - Nick Bjugstad - Patric Hornqvist

Teddy Blueger - Matt Cullen- Garrett Wilson

Jack Johnson / Justin Schultz

Olli Maatta / Zach Trotman

Marcus Pettersson / Erik Gudbranson

Expected scratches: Kris Letang (upper-boy injury), Chad Ruhwedel (upper-body injury), Zach Aston-Reese (hip), Brian Dumoulin Adam Johnson

—Geno’s back, and he’s bringing hell with him. Well, not really, but it sounds cooler that way. Anyway, hopefully No. 71 can hit the ground running and provide a shot to the arm of what’s become a pretty stagnant offensive group that’s slumped without him at even strength and on the power play.

Time to Clinch

Here are the standings as of this morning:

The Penguins can clinch a playoff spot today in any of the following ways:

  1. Win against Detroit: The easiest and most fun way, just win and you’re in — nothing else to worry about!
  2. Pens OT loss tonight + MTL loss of any fashion @WSH: Could the Capitals help the Pens out? Well, maybe. A Washington wins clinches the division (which is just a matter of time anyways), so they should be motivated. But this is basically a “must win” for Montreal’s playoff chances, so they should also be playing their best.
  3. Pens OT loss tonight + Carolina regulation loss vs NJD: I wouldn’t really count on this because New Jersey is weak and out of it and Carolina is a good home team, but it’s a possibility!
  4. Pens regulation loss tonight + MTL regulation loss @WSH: This would be the least fun way to back door into clinching a playoff spot, but hey, it still counts.

Pittsburgh’s last game is Saturday night against the Rangers. Even if the Pens don’t clinch tonight (as in a PIT regulation loss and a MTL win/OTL), the Pens could still clinch a playoff spot tomorrow should Columbus lose in regulation to those Rangers.

Other important games for playoff seeding are NJD @ Carolina and NYI @ Florida. Since Carolina has more ROW (the first tiebreaker), the Pens would do well to stay in front of them.

Pittsburgh could be (tied) for second place in the Metro, in third place or in the Wild Card No 1 spot after tonight sorts out. They’re still in relatively strong position with two games left to control their own destiny and get a good seed, but they need to get results in their games to ensure that.