NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, February 8th
(All times eastern)
Detroit Red Wings (34-11-7) at Pittsburgh Penguins (26-23-5), 12:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A Stanley Cup Finals rematch is on tap for this afternoon,
as the Pittsburgh Penguins welcome the defending champion Detroit Red Wings to
Mellon Arena for the first time this season.
These two clubs clashed in the 2007-08 finals, with the Red Wings capturing
their fourth Stanley Cup title in 11 seasons and 11th overall in club history.
Pittsburgh and Detroit will be meeting at Mellon Arena for the first time
since the Red Wings' Game 6 cup-clinching 3-2 victory on June 4.
Today will mark the second meeting of this season between the two franchises.
Detroit hosted Pittsburgh back on November 11, with the Penguins winning a
wild 7-6 overtime battle. That contest saw Pittsburgh rally from three goals
down to force overtime, doing so thanks to Jordan Staal's hat trick, before
Staal set up Ruslan Fedotenko for the game-winner in OT.
That win by Pittsburgh halted Detroit's two-game regular season winning streak
versus the Pens, though the Red Wings have still won five of the last seven
regular season meetings in the series. Detroit has also won three of its last
four in Pittsburgh and that does not include its two wins in three contests at
Mellon Arena during last season's finals.
Today will also mark Detroit forward Marian Hossa's first game in Pittsburgh
since leaving the team via free agency after its finals loss. He posted 10
points in 12 regular season games with Pittsburgh last year after being
acquired from Atlanta, but really paid off in the postseason, notching 12
goals and 14 assists in 20 playoff contests.
Pittsburgh could use Hossa, as it is currently on the outside of the playoff
picture. The Penguins are fourth in the Atlantic Division with 57 points and
are two points back of the final postseason spot in the East. The Pens seemed
to be in good shape earlier in the season as they began November with six
straight wins. However, they are just 15-19-3 since.
The club does carry a two-game winning streak into this afternoon's test that
comes on the heels of a winless three-game road trip. Pittsburgh, which hasn't
won three straight since its six-game burst from November 1-15, defeated Tampa
Bay in overtime on Wednesday before notching a 4-1 victory versus Columbus on
Kris Letang scored a pair of goals to pace the Penguins offense, Petr Sykora
also scored and Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves. Sidney Crosby had a goal and
two assists to give him 51 helpers and 72 points this season. He trails only
teammate Evgeni Malkin (56 assists, 80 points) in both categories for the NHL
lead. Malkin, meanwhile, has six goals and five assists over a seven-game
Pittsburgh has won five of its last six at home and is 14-11-2 as the host
Last year's Presidents' Trophy winner, Detroit has rebounded from a season-
worst five-game losing streak to post three straight wins. Pavel Datsyuk,
Hossa, Brian Rafalski, Brett Lebda and Dan Cleary all scored as part of a
five-goal first period on Saturday in an 8-3 win over Edmonton.
Datsyuk, Hossa and Rafalski all added an assist and Niklas Kronwall had three
helpers for Detroit, which leads the Central Division by 11 points over
Chicago and also trails San Jose by four points for the best record in the
West. Ty Conklin ended with 23 saves.
Detroit will be trying to end a four-game road losing streak today and is
15-7-5 as the road team. It will do so without Tomas Holmstrom, who will
undergo hernia surgery that will sideline him for the next five weeks.
Holmstrom, who has 14 goals and 16 assists in 40 games this year, is expected
to be ready for the postseason, though.
Johan Franzen, meanwhile, suffered a hand injury in yesterday's game versus
the Oilers and could miss today's game. He has 22 goals in 46 contests this
02/08 10:24:05 ET