Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (36-27-10, 82 points, 5th place Metropolitan Division) @ Detroit Red Wings (31-32-9, 71 points, 7th place Atlantic Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh for the visitors, Bally Sports Detroit for the hosts, ESPN+
Opponent Track: In February the Red Wings were a close contender for one of those highly-coveted Eastern Conference wild card spots. Then the bottom fell out. The Wings have won only three of their last 15 games, and were shut out 3-0 by the tanking Philadelphia Flyers in their last outing on Saturday.
Pens Path Ahead: The Pens next return to PPG Paints Arena for the regular season’s final stretch of consecutive home games. They’ll face the Predators on Thursday, then take on a back-to-back set against the Bruins and the Flyers this upcoming weekend from the comforts of home.
Season Series: This is the second game of the season series, which will end in Detroit on April 8. Game 1 might have been the most frustrating loss of the season on December 2022, when the Penguins turned a four-goal first period lead into a 5-4 OT loss at home.
Hidden Stat: The Red Wings actually have a better record at home when being outshot by their opponent (9-3-2) than when leading in shots (8-10-2).
Getting to know the Red Wings
SBN partner blog: Winging it in Motown
Potential Game Lines
Dominik Kubalik - Dylan Larkin - David Perron
Pius Suter - Andrew Copp - Lucas Raymond
Filip Zadina - Joseph Veleno - Adam Erne
Jonatan Berggren - Austin Czarnik - Matt Luff
Jake Walman / Moritz Seider
Olli Maatta / Robert Hagg
Simon Edvinsson / Jordan Oesterle
Goalies: Magnus Hellberg, Alex Nedeljkovic
Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Robby Fabbri (lower body), Gustav Lindstrom, Ben Chiarot (upper body), Ville Husso (lower body)
IR: Michael Rasmussen (knee, out for season), Mark Pysyk (out for the season)
- Starting goaltender Ville Husso has missed the Red Wings’ past two games with a lower-body injury. Alex Nedeljkovic, who is now backing up for Magnus Hellberg, made his first NHL start since December 8 on Saturday against the Flyers. The 3-0 shutout loss is hard to blame on his performance, which head coach Derek Lalonde called “sharp.”
- Magnus Hellberg, who might start in net for the Red Wings tonight if Husso is still out, was pulled from his last start after allowing three goals on 13 shots from the Blues last Thursday. After that game, which Detroit lost 4-3, Lalonde was highly critical of his team’s performance.
“I’m really disappointed with the way we handled giving up the goals. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves for four or five minutes after every goal, we have to go play the right way.” —Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde
- Third-line center turned top-six winger Michael Rasmussen is likely out for the season after a painful shot block off the knee earlier this month. He put together his second double-digit goalscoring season for the Red Wings this year.
- Dylan Larkin, who has been the Red Wings’ biggest offensive threat all season, has recorded points in nine of his last 11 games. Four weeks ago, he signed a eight-year, $69.6 million dollar deal to stay in Detroit.
- Power plays have been an issue for the Red Wings. Detroit failed to convert on any of seven man-advantage opportunities against the Flyers, a team with one of the lowest kill percentages in the league, on Saturday.
And now for the Pens...
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Mikael Granlund?
Danton Heinen - Ryan Poehling - Rickard Rakell?
Drew O’Connor - Jeff Carter - Josh Archibald
Muffin Man / Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin / Jeff Petry?
Mark Friedman / Chad Ruhwedel or Taylor Fedun?
Goalies: Casey DeSmith or Tristan Jarry
Scratches: Alex Nylander, Jan Rutta
IR: Dmitry Kulikov (week-to-week, lower-body injury), Nick Bonino (week-to-week, lacerated kidney), Marcus Pettersson (lower body)
- There was a Jeff swap during practice on Monday. Carter was absent, with Alex Nylander taking his spot on the fourth line, while Petry was a participant beside Brian Dumoulin. Petry will be a game-time decision. After practice, Mike Sullivan said Carter missed practice for “personal reasons” and will be coming to Detroit.
- Rakell must be getting whiplash from all these line changes. This time, the Penguins switched him out for Mikael Granlund during Monday’s practice. We’ll see if they stick with those new lines for the game.
Just asked Mike Sullivan about the Granlund/Rakell switch. Sounds like it’s just as much a matter of wanting Granlund’s defensive presence on the second line as it is wanting to spark the third line offensively with Rakell’s scoring. Just about balance.— Taylor Haase (@TaylorHaasePGH) March 27, 2023
Of course, Sullivan’s statement raises a few questions, given Granlund’s stat lines.
- Tristan Jarry joined practice after backing up Casey DeSmith against the Capitals on Saturday. Mike Sullivan said after practice that Jarry is dealing with a new injury, not a re-aggravation of something he’d dealt with previously.
- Other injury updates at Monday’s practice, courtesy of Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Shelly Anderson: Jan Rutta worked out in full gear before practice, Nick Bonino was briefly on the ice out of uniform, and Dmitry Kulikov and Marcus Pettersson did not skate.