Game Preview: at Detroit Red Wings - March 26, 2016 - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Game Preview: at Detroit Red Wings - March 26, 2016

Pittsburgh Penguins (40-25-8; 3rd Metro) at Detroit Red Wings (37-26-11; 4th Atlantic)
March 26, 2016 @ 2:00 PM - Joe Louis Arena
TV: Root Sports Pittsburgh

The Penguins snapped their 6 game win streak with a 3-0 loss to the Devils Thursday night, but they'll look to get back on track against a team in jeopardy of seeing its own streak snapped. The Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs for 24 straight seasons and haven't missed the postseason since 1989-90, but they're currently on the outside looking in. If the Pens can get two points today, it'll help them keep pace in the Metro while also continuing Detroit's slide. If they miss the playoffs, it'll be Pittsburgh with the longest playoff streak at 9 years (and counting). It's the 3rd and final game between the two teams this season, and the Penguins will be looking for the series sweep after winning the first two games by a combined score of 11-5.

The sun is starting to set on the careers of a couple of Red Wing greats. Captain Henrik Zetterberg leads Detroit with 13 goals and 32 assists, but his 0.61 points per game is his lowest since his rookie season in 2002-03. The 35-year-old Swede hasn't topped the 20 goal mark in four seasons, and he's a negative possession player relative to his teammates (50.9 SACF%; 52.8 SACF% off) for the first time in his career. Pavel Datsyuk is right behind Zetterberg for the team scoring lead with 44 points, although that was in 58 games played as opposed to 74 for Zetterberg. Like Zetterberg, Datsyuk's 0.76 points per game is also his lowest since his rookie season, but what sets him apart is that he's still posting off the chart possession numbers (57.9 SACF%, 51.2 SACF% off). The 37-year-old Russian is one of the most talented players of his generation, but at his age it's fair to wonder how many years at this high of a level Datsyuk might have left.

But a new generation of Red Wings are establishing themselves to take over when Zetterberg and Datsyuk hang up the skates. Dylan Larkin made the NHL team at the unusually young age (for Detroit) of 19 years old, and the Michigan native hasn't disappointed. He leads the team in goals with 21, and he's 3rd on the team with 43 points. It's been an impressive rookie year for Larkin, and that point total is good enough to have him tied for 4th in the rookie scoring race, tied with Connor McDavid and behind only Artemi Panarin, Jack Eichel, and Max Domi for first year players. Also stepping up for Detroit is Petr Mrazek. The 24-year-old goaltender has wrested the starting job away from Jimmy Howard, and he's solidified his place as the top option for the Red Wings with a 0.922 SV% and 2.26 GAA, soundly outplacing Howard in both categories (0.908 SV%, 2.84 GAA).


Penguins: Nick Bonino (undisclosed), Olli Maatta (lower body), Evgeni Malkin (upper body), Scott Wilson (undisclosed), Kevin Porter (ankle)

Red Wings: Drew Miller (knee), Johan Franzen (concussion)


- Oskar Sundqvist was sent down to Wilkes-Barre yesterday morning, but it wasn't for long as he was recalled yesterday afternoon after Nick Bonino suffered an injury in practice. Bonino will travel to Detroit with the team and be reevaluated before today's game.

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