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Red Wings at Penguins preview

Pittsburgh tries to clinch playoff berth; Detroit goes for seventh straight win

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

RED WINGS (32-38-10) at PENGUINS (43-26-11)



The Game

The Pittsburgh Penguins can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 13th straight season when they play the Detroit Red Wings at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday.

Pittsburgh, which has lost two of its past three games, will clinch with a win. The Penguins can also clinch with an overtime or shootout loss if the Montreal Canadiens lose in any fashion to the Washington Capitals or the Carolina Hurricanes lose in regulation to the New Jersey Devils. Pittsburgh would also clinch if Montreal loses in regulation.

The Penguins are third in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the second-place New York Islanders and two in front of Carolina, which holds the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are three points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Canadiens, who are tied in points for the second wild card. Columbus has three more regulation/overtime wins than Montreal.

The Red Wings are on a season-long six-game winning streak and are 8-1-0 in their past nine games, including a 4-1 win against the Penguins on Tuesday in the opener of the home-and-home series.


Players to watch

Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in a four-game multipoint streak, can become the first player in Detroit history to have at least three points in five straight games.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby has three assists in his past nine games after scoring 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in his previous 17 games.


They said it

"Yes, we're out of the playoffs. ... Every single time you get to coach, play, in the NHL should be a special moment." -- Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill

"We just have to continue to play with the urgency and the commitment necessary to win." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan


Red Wings projected lineup

Tyler Bertuzzi -- Dylan Larkin -- Anthony Mantha

Taro Hirose -- Andreas Athanasiou -- Darren Helm

Ryan Kuffner -- Christoffer Ehn -- Martin Frk

Matt Puempel -- Dominic Turgeon -- Luke Witkowski

Niklas Kronwall -- Filip Hronek

Joe Hicketts -- Madison Bowey

Jake Chelios -- Dylan McIlrath

Jimmy Howard

Kaden Fulcher

Scratched: None

Injured: Thomas Vanek (mid body), Michael Rasmussen (upper body), Trevor Daley (back), Justin Abdelkader (foot), Mike Green (virus), Jacob de la Rose (heart rate), Jonathan Ericsson (lower body), Frans Nielsen (head), Jonathan Bernier (upper body), Danny DeKeyser (lower body), Luke Glendening (lower body)


Penguins projected lineup

Jared McCann -- Sidney Crosby -- Jake Guentzel

Bryan Rust -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Dominik Simon -- Nick Bjugstad -- Patric Hornqvist

Teddy Blueger -- Matt Cullen -- Garrett Wilson

Jack Johnson -- Justin Schultz

Marcus Pettersson -- Erik Gudbranson

Olli Maatta -- Zach Trotman

Matt Murray

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Adam Johnson

Injured:  Chad Ruhwedel (upper body), Zach Aston-Reese (lower body), Kris Letang (upper body), Brian Dumoulin (lower body)


Status report

Blashill said Witkowski is questionable for an undisclosed reason. ... Malkin and Letang will be game-time decisions. Malkin has missed Pittsburgh's past eight games; Letang has missed four in a row.


Stat pack

Bowey will play his 100th NHL game. ... Cullen will play his 1,515th NHL game, passing Steve Yzerman for 19th all-time.

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