PENGUINS (40-25-8) at RED WINGS (37-26-11)
TV: 2 p.m. ET; SN, ROOT, FS-D, NHL.TV
Season series: The Pittsburgh Penguins have won the first two games against the Detroit Red Wings. Forward Sidney Crosby scored to spark a three-goal third period, and Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win on Dec. 31 at Joe Louis Arena. Forward Phil Kessel scored twice, including the go-ahead goal, in a 6-3 win on Feb. 18 at Consol Energy Center.
Penguins team scope: Center Nick Bonino will be a game-time decision. Bonino sustained an upper-body injury at practice Friday, Triblive.com reported, so Pittsburgh recalled forward Oskar Sundqvist from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League hours after sending him back down. Defenseman Olli Maatta sustained a lower-body injury in a 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and is week-to-week. Trevor Daley took Maatta's place on the top pair with Kris Letang at practice, and Ben Lovejoy, who hasn't played since sustaining an upper-body injury Feb. 20 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, skated with Brian Dumoulin. Lovejoy will return to the lineup. "We believe we have some depth at defense," coach Mike Sullivan told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We've got capable people that we're going to move into the lineup. It's a great opportunity for them to help us win." This is the start of a back-to-back set on the road that finishes at the New York Rangers on Sunday. It's likely goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray will split the weekend games with Pittsburgh playing nine times in 15 days to end the regular season.
Red Wings team scope: Detroit enters tied in points with the Philadelphia Flyers, who hold the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference by virtue of having played one fewer game. The Red Wings are also one point behind the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall took a maintenance day Friday but coach Jeff Blashill expects him to be available, according to MLive.com. Blashill is well aware of the roll Pittsburgh had been on prior to Thursday. "They're playing great hockey and they're a real good hockey team. I know when we're playing the right way we're a real good hockey team, so let's go play great hockey and give ourselves the best chance to win," he told the Red Wings website. Detroit opened a three-game homestand Thursday by building a four-goal lead and hanging on for a 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens, with forward Anthony Mantha's first NHL goal turning out to be the game-winner.