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Penguins vs. Red Wings: Lines, Notes & How to Watch

Crosby pacing Penguins



Alex Nedeljkovic, Red Wings
Former Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic is 6-0-3 in his last nine games for Pittsburgh.

No one has to tell Detroit Red Wings defenseman Olli Maatta about how fantastic the core of the Pittsburgh Penguins is. He was living it in person as a Penguins player from 2013-19, winning a pair of Stanley Cups alongside the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

“I think they’re a proud group,” Maatta said. “They’ve done it for a long time and they still have that hunger. You know how they work day to day. They don’t take any games off. Every game matters for them.

“They want to succeed. They’re special kind of players for sure.”

On the morning of Mar. 24, Pittsburgh sat 24th in the NHL standings and 13th in the Eastern Conference with a 30-30-9 record. The Penguins were nine points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and given just a 1.7% chance of making the postseason per Now, the Penguins enter tonight’s game against Detroit with points in nine-straight games (6-0-3). Like the Red Wings, they’re one point out of a playoff spot.

“They’ve been playing great,” Detroit forward Patrick Kane said of the Penguins. “They’ve been finding ways to get points and win games. It’s been impressive, because you thought they were out of the playoff picture around the trade deadline. They’ve had quite a run.”

Crosby Leading The Way

Crosby, as is usually the case, is pacing that progress. He’s been accounting for an NHL-leading 17 points since March 24.

“I don’t think there’s ever enough to be said about how big of a leader, how special of a player he is and has been for a long time,” Maatta said of Crosby. “on’t know how somebody can do that for that long. I didn’t think that was possible but he can do it. He’s shown that. And he’s still doing it at an elite level. I think it’s gonna be a big challenge for us.”

Game Time

Thursday: Detroit at Pittsburgh

Where: PPG Paints Arena

TV/RADIO: Bally Sports Detroit/97.1 FM

Time: 7 p.m.

Penguins Preview

Pittsburgh captain Crosby reached the 40-goal plateau for the third time in his career. He’s the seventh NHL player to post a 40-goal campaign after his 36th birthday . . . Crosby needs two points to tie Phil Esposito for 10th all-time in NHL scoring. “He’s special,” Lalonde said. “He’ll go down as one of the greatest ever. He’s pushing that team.” . . . Pittsburgh is 386-88-46 when both Crosby and Malkin get a point in the same game . . . Former Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic has gaines points for Pittsburgh in each of his last nine games (6-0-3). That’s a career best for him.

Red Wings Preview

Alex Lyon will be making his sixth consecutive start tonight. “We’re ready to play James (Reimer) any time,” Lalonde said. “We’ll kind of go game by game, but we foresee James getting the net in one of these games. It’s just a matter of when.” . . . Forwards Andrew Copp (broken cheekbone) and Michael Rasmussen (upper body injury) are out.

Former Penguin Zach Aston-Reese is up from the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. “Aston-Reese will probably help us on the penalty kill, having two of our top killers out,” Lalonde said. He’ll play on the foruth line with Christian Fischer and Austin Czarnik. Lalonde is tweaking all four lines. It’s Dylan Larkin-Alex DeBrincat-Lucas Raymond, Patrick Kane-J.T. Compher-David Perron and Joe Veleno-Robby Fabbri-Daniel Sprong on the other lines . . . D pairings remain the same, meaning Justin Holl and Jake Walman will be healthy scratches.