Pittsburgh Penguins (26-10-4-1) vs. Detroit Red Wings (17-19-6-0)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 14, 2017
Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Lines: Pittsburgh -162 / Detroit +145
The Detroit Red Wings (8th in Atlantic Division) are returning home after a horrid time on the road, which brought just two wins in seven outings. The visiting Pittsburgh Penguins (3rd in Metropolitan), meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back after two heavy back-to-back defeats…
The Pens get hurt badly
Having won five games in a row between Dec. 23 – Jan. 8, the Pittsburgh Penguins (26-10-5) have unexpectedly tumbled in the first two outings of their current 3-game road stretch, losing 5-2 at the Washington Capitals on Wednesday before being defeated 4-1 by the Ottawa Senators just 24 hours later. This was the first time the Pens had been beaten in consecutive games in regulation since Dec. 14-19, 2015, going 90 strong outings without back-to-back defeats in 60 minutes. The lack of discipline dominated in Pittsburgh’s trip to Ottawa, with the visitors giving up two goals on five overall power play opportunities. Coach Mike Sullivan was thrown out of the game by the referees shortly after Justin Schultz (7 goals, 26 points for the year) was called for goaltender interference. Conor Sheary (11 goals, 25 points) netted the only goal for Pittsburgh.
Goalie Matt Murray played his first outing after returning from a lower-body injury, sustained just after Christmas, making a total of 29 saves. He is 13-4-1 for the current campaign with a 2.28 GAA and has never played against Detroit before. Marc-Andre Fleury (13-6-4 for the year with a 3.12 GAA) has gone 9-6-1 in the past against the Red Wings with a 2.93 career GAA. The Penguins are 6th in the NHL with 57 points from 41 games and have a dodgy 8-8-3 road record. They are scoring the 2nd highest quantity of goals per contest (3.41), conceding the 12th highest amount on the defensive end (2.85 per game). The Pens are 4th in power play with a great 22.8% success rate, but just 24th in penalty kill with pretty low 78.3% proficiency.
The Red Wings lose again
An absolutely catastrophic second period sealed the fate for the Detroit Red Wings (17-19-6), who finished off their 7-game road stretch on a deathly note, losing 5-2 to the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Thursday. The entertaining matchup saw the lively Stars record their first home win against Detroit in the past six years with three unanswered goals in the second period after Gustav Nyquist (5 goals, 20 points for the year) scored on a 5-on-3 power play and Henrik Zetterberg (8 goals, 30 points) made it 2:1 in the first 20 minutes. Dallas finished off the rout with an empty net goal 1:06 minutes from time. Nyquist’s marker, meanwhile was only the third road power play goal of the current campaign for Detroit and their first since Oct. 19.
Goalie Petr Mrazek made 16 saves on 20 shots and has now gone 9-11-4 for the season with a 3.19 GAA. He has a horrid 1-4-0 career record against Pittsburgh with an embarrassing 4.52 GAA, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Jared Coreau (3-1-1 for the year with a 3.14) got the nod in the net to try to redeem himself after conceding 4 goals on his NHL debut against the Penguins six weeks ago. The Red Wings are currently 27th in the league with 40 points from 42 games and good 10 points off a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with just two games in hand. They are netting the 6th lowest quantity of goals per game (2.38), allow the 8th highest amount defensively (2.95), rank 13th in penalty kill with a decent 82.5% expertise and are still at the very bottom of the table in power play with a tragic 11.4% success rate.
- Over is 8-2 in Penguins last 10 road games.
- Over is 4-1 in Penguins last 5 Saturday games.
- Over is 12-3-4 in Red Wings last 19 following a loss of 3 or more goals.
- Over is 4-0 in Red Wings last 4 meetings in with Penguins in Detroit.
- Over is 5-0 in Red Wings last 5 overall meetings with Penguins.
The Red Wings are returning home, where they have been atrocious for the whole season so far, going 2-6-3 in their past 11 contests on their own ice alone. And there is no better news than that for the Penguins, who will seek to redeem themselves after two disappointing outings in a row, during which they managed to allow nine goals. No less than six markers have been scored in eight of their past nine head-to-head meetings, with an average of 8.25 goals netted in their last four matchups. Expect some action here…