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Preview: Penguins at Red Wings

Pittsburgh looks to end two-game losing streak; Detroit feeling urgency at home

by Dave Hogg / Correspondent

PENGUINS (26-10-5) at RED WINGS (17-19-6) 



Penguins team scope

The Pittsburgh Penguins make their last regular-season appearance at Joe Louis Arena on a rare losing streak. The Penguins lost 5-2 against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday and 4-1 against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, the first time they have lost back-to-back games in regulation since Dec. 14-19, 2015. Despite the two losses, Pittsburgh is 13-3-2 in its past 18 games. "We just have to be better, and our players understand that," coach Mike Sullivan said. "We have to do a better job of dictating the game instead of reacting to our opponents." … Pittsburgh is 18-2-2 at home this season and 8-8-3 on the road. "We haven't given ourselves a chance in the last two games, and we know that has to change tonight," captain Sidney Crosby said. Defenseman Ian Cole, who grew up in nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan, has been playing at Joe Louis Arena since his childhood. "I started here when I was eight or nine, and that was a real treat because it was the same rink where guys like [Steve] Yzerman, [Sergei] Fedorov and [Nicklas] Lidstrom were playing," Cole said. "I won a CCHA title here with Notre Dame too, so I've had a lot of great memories here. Tonight will be tough."


Red Wings team scope

The Detroit Red Wings will play their second home game since Dec. 17. Detroit went 2-3-2 on a seven-game road trip, going 0-2-1 in the final three. The Red Wings are eight points behind the Ottawa Senators for third place in the Atlantic Division and 10 behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. "We can't start worrying about how many points other teams have at this point," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We need to focus on getting two points every time we get a chance." Defenseman Niklas Kronwall (groin) is hoping to return soon. "I don't have an exact date, but I was able to do more in practice this morning, so that's a good sign," he said. The Red Wings are 3-10-3 at home since starting the season with a four-game winning streak at Joe Louis Arena. "We absolutely need to start winning games here," Kronwall said. "We have to start playing 60 strong minutes every night."


Penguins projected lineup 

Conor Sheary -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz -- Nick Bonino -- Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson -- Matt Cullen -- Eric Fehr

Ian Cole -- Kris Letang

Trevor Daley -- Olli Maatta

Justin Schultz -- David Warsofsky

Marc-Andre Fleury

Matt Murray

Scratched: Steve Oleksy, Tom Kuhnhackl

Injured: Brian Dumoulin (jaw), Chad Ruhwedel (illness)


Red Wings projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Anthony Mantha

Thomas Vanek -- Frans Nielsen -- Andreas Athanasiou

Tomas Tatar -- Riley Sheahan -- Dylan Larkin

Drew Miller -- Luke Glendening -- Justin Abdelkader

Danny DeKeyser -- Mike Green

Alexey Marchenko -- Jonathan Ericsson

Xavier Ouellet -- Nick Jensen

Jared Coreau 

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Tomas Jurco, Steve Ott, Ryan Sproul

Injured: Darren Helm (upper body), Tyler Bertuzzi (ankle), Jimmy Howard (knee), Niklas Kronwall (groin), Brendan Smith (knee).


Status report

Fleury will start after getting a night off against Ottawa. He had played in Pittsburgh's previous seven games, starting five and relieving Murray twice. … Warsofsky, who hasn't played an NHL game since Oct. 29, is expected to replace Oleksy in the lineup. … Coreau will be making the sixth start of his NHL career, but his first at Joe Louis Arena. "I'm excited to finally get to play a regular-season game here," he said. "I've played a few preseason games, but that's nothing like I'll experience tonight." … Jensen is scheduled to play his 10th NHL game, meaning he will have to clear waivers to return to Grand Rapids of the AHL.


Who's hot 

Crosby has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games and 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in his past 20 games. … Schultz has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his past 13 games. … Malkin has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past seven games and 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in his past 14 games. … Athanasiou has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past six games. … Vanek has six points (three goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak.


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