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WGD: Game 81: Red Wings vs. Penguins

The red hot Red Wings take their winning streak to Pittsburgh tonight where they can once again prevent the Penguins from clinching a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In their last meeting on Tuesday, the Red Wings top line exploded offensively to down the Penguins 6-3. If the Pens beat the Red Wings in any fashion, they’ll clinch a playoff spot. If they lose again and Montreal/Carolina both lose, they’ll clinch a playoff spot. Montreal’s got a tough game ahead of them, but I would love it if the Red Wings finished their season off by preventing the Penguins from securing a playoff spot.

The Wings are currently on a seven game win streak and have only lost one game in their last ten.

THE RED WINGS

LW C RW
Tyler Bertuzzi
TYLER BERTUZZI

Rating: 76.9#26 LW

Dylan Larkin
DYLAN LARKIN

Rating: 80.2#17 C

Anthony Mantha
ANTHONY MANTHA

Rating: 78.6#19 RW

Darren Helm
DARREN HELM

Rating: 70.4#148 LW

Andreas Athanasiou
ANDREAS ATHANASIOU

Rating: 77.9#29 C

Taro Hirose
TARO HIROSE
Ryan Kuffner
RYAN KUFFNER
Christoffer Ehn
CHRISTOFFER EHN

Rating: 69.6#168 C

Martin Frk
MARTIN FRK

Rating: 69.6#125 RW

Matt Puempel
MATT PUEMPEL

Rating: 71.2#106 LW

Dominic Turgeon
DOMINIC TURGEON

Rating: 72.9#84 C

Luke Witkowski
LUKE WITKOWSKI

Rating: 67.5#134 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Niklas Kronwall
NIKLAS KRONWALL

Rating: 71.8#89 LD

Filip Hronek
FILIP HRONEK

Rating: 72.7#59 RD

Joe Hicketts
JOE HICKETTS

Rating: 73.0#62 LD

Madison Bowey
MADISON BOWEY

Rating: 69.6#99 RD

Dylan McIlrath
DYLAN MCILRATH

Rating: 72.9#63 LD

Jake Chelios
JAKE CHELIOS

Rating: 73.3#50 RD

The Wings’ success has largely been due to the performance of their top line, but their roster is full of young talent right now. The bottom-6 are largely AHL players, but they’ve proven that they can shut down opposing teams’ bottom-6, which is actually quite impressive.

As for the top-6, Larkin, Mantha, and Bertuzzi have combined for 38 points in their last six games. They are leading the league in points. But they are also getting secondary production from Athanasiou and Hirose, both of whom have looked amazing game in and game out.

On the blue line, Hronek continues to impress, but he’s not as impressive as Kronwall who is the last man standing among the veteran D-men on the team.

THE PENGUINS

LW C RW
Jared McCann
JARED MCCANN

Rating: 74.0#49 LW

Sidney Crosby
SIDNEY CROSBY

Rating: 85.4#4 C

Jake Guentzel
JAKE GUENTZEL

Rating: 79.1#12 RW

Bryan Rust
BRYAN RUST

Rating: 76.1#32 LW

Evgeni Malkin
EVGENI MALKIN

Rating: 82.0#11 C

Phil Kessel
PHIL KESSEL

Rating: 76.8#27 RW

Dominik Simon
DOMINIK SIMON

Rating: 71.2#104 LW

Nick Bjugstad
NICK BJUGSTAD

Rating: 74.1#60 C

Patric Hornqvist
PATRIC HORNQVIST

Rating: 75.7#35 RW

Teddy Blueger
TEDDY BLUEGER
Matt Cullen
MATT CULLEN

Rating: 71.1#130 C

Garrett Wilson
GARRETT WILSON

Rating: 71.8#88 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Jack Johnson
JACK JOHNSON

Rating: 70.5#118 LD

Justin Schultz
JUSTIN SCHULTZ

Rating: 76.3#25 RD

Olli Maatta
OLLI MAATTA

Rating: 72.2#79 LD

Zach Trotman
ZACH TROTMAN

Rating: 73.1#54 RD

Marcus Pettersson
MARCUS PETTERSSON

Rating: 72.6#69 LD

Erik Gudbranson
ERIK GUDBRANSON

Rating: 70.0#96 RD

This Pens team is definitely built for the playoffs, they just need to get there. The Wings did a good job of shutting down Crosby and Malkin for the most part on Tuesday and they’ll need to do that again tonight if they want to extend their win streak.

They also need to watch out for that pesky Phil Kessel who burned them on a 2-on-1 last game in the first period. Their blue line is easily their weak point, but Gudbranson has a solid performance on Tuesday. I’d expect more from him tonight.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Matt Murray

Howard played a great game on Tuesday so, having had a day of rest in between, I don’t see why he wouldn’t start again tonight.

As for the Pens, they’ll need more from Murray who got burned a few times by Mantha and Bertuzzi last game. He just didn’t look that good. It’s not a good omen as they head into the playoffs.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck drop is at 7:00 P.M. ET tonight and you’ll be able to watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit.