Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (39-30-10, 88 points, 5th place Metropolitan Division) @ Detroit Red Wings (35-33-10, 80 points, 7th place Atlantic Division)
When: 1:00 p.m. ET
How to Watch: National broadcast on ESPN+ and ABC
Opponent Track: The Red Wings were officially eliminated from playoff contention for the seventh consecutive season with a 7-6 shootout loss to the Sabres on Thursday. Detroit made it into the second wild card spot in February after winning seven of eight games, but immediately slipped into a six-game losing streak from which they never recovered. That’s not to say the Red Wings can’t beat good teams, though. Within the past week they downed the visiting Hurricanes, 3-2, and the Maple Leafs in Toronto, 5-2.
Pens Path Ahead: The final home game of the regular season goes down when the Blackhawks visit PPG Paints next Tuesday, and the season wraps up with a tilt in St. Louis on Thursday.
Season Series: Detroit claimed the first two games of this season series. On December 28, the Penguins blew a four-goal lead en route to losing 5-4 to the visitors. In a recent trip to Little Caesars Arena on March 28, a comeback from a three-goal deficit fell flat after two quick Detroit tallies in the third put the Pens under, 7-4.
Getting to know the Red Wings
A stick tap to our friends at: Winging It In Motown (their Twitter feed is up, and they’re working on building the 2.0 version of the website.)
Potential Game Lines
Dominik Kubalik - Dylan Larkin - David Perron
Pius Suter - Andrew Copp - Lucas Raymond
Adam Erne - Joseph Veleno - Alex Chiasson
Jonatan Berggren - Austin Czarnik - Matt Luff
Jake Walman / Moritz Seider
Simon Edvinsson / Ben Chiarot
Olli Maatta / Jordan Oesterle
Goalies: Ville Husso, Magnus Hellberg
Scratches: Marco Kasper (out for the season), Filip Zadina (out for the season), Robby Fabbri (out for the season), Gustav Lindstrom, Robert Hagg, Alex Nedeljkovic
IR: Michael Rasmussen, Mark Pysyk
- Starting goaltender Ville Husso returned from injury on Tuesday, when in his first action in two weeks he blanked the Canadiens in a 24-save shutout. Despite the final score on Thursday, when the Red Wings lost 7-6 in a shootout, he put up some impressive saves.
- After Husso made two starts in three days coming back from injury, will the Red Wings turn to backup Magnus Hellberg to face the Pens tonight? Hellberg has not recorded a win since March 21, and struggled with sub-.800 save percentages in his last two starts. In 16 games since being traded from the Senators, has a .887 save percentage and averages 3.26 goals against and sometimes seems to struggle with positioning in the crease.
- 21-year-old Lucas Raymond hit 100 NHL career points on Thursday, making him the third-youngest player in franchise history to the milestone. Raymond’s in good company— he’s been beat out only by Steve Yzerman and Gordie Howe.
- One of Detroit’s biggest issues is lack of scoring— they rank 21st in the league with an average 3.00 goals per game— but captain Dylan Larkin has been a bright spot. On Thursday he tied his career high of 32 goals in a season.
And now for the Pens...
Thursday Game Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen - Ryan Poehling - Mikael Granlund
Drew O’Connor - Jeff Carter - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
P.O. Joseph / Jeff Petry
Mark Friedman / Jan Rutta
Goalies: Tristan Jarry, Casey DeSmith
Scratches: Chad Ruhwedel
LTIR: Dmitry Kulikov (lower-body injury), Nick Bonino (lacerated kidney), Marcus Pettersson (lower body)
- Jan Rutta returned to the Penguins’ lineup Thursday. He registered one shot, skated almost 17 minutes and generally slotted in fine during a solid performance for the Pens.
- If Jeff Carter scores, you know it’s going to be a good night. The Penguins are now 9-2-1 when he gets one in the net.
- Alex Nylander arrived yesterday on emergency basis with a “full package of sticks” but was sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hours later.
- The Penguins’ power play finally converted on Thursday, but continues to under-perform.
- Sidney Crosby has been very quiet for the past few games. After allowing a few high-profile turnovers against the Devils, he failed to register a shot on goal (for only the fifth time this season) against the Wild.
- If you were asked which Penguin set a new career-high points total last night, would you have guessed Brian Dumoulin? The defenseman’s two assists gave him 25 points on the season for the first time.