Photo Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

GAME DAY: Red Wings kick off season series against Penguins (7:00 p.m. ET, BSDET)

The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins have plenty of history against each other. The two teams will write the next chapter in their rivalry on Friday when the Red Wings visit PPG Paints Arena for the first time in the 2021–22 season.

OK, maybe the Red Wings and Penguins aren’t really “rivals” — not anymore, at least. That couldn’t have been further from the truth in the late 2000s, however, when Detroit and Pittsburgh met in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals.

The 2008 series is the one more fondly remembered by Red Wings fans. Just for kicks, let’s take a look back at the deciding sixth game: Brian Rafalski, Valtteri Filppula, and Henrik Zetterberg scored and Chris Osgood made 20 saves to clinch Detroit’s fourth championship in 11 years.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The Red Wings and Penguins last met way back on Feb. 16, 2020, with Pittsburgh winning 5–1 to sweep the three-game season series. Filppula scored Detroit’s lone tally before the Red Wings’ goaltenders allowed five unanswered markers (Jimmy Howard started the game before being relieved by Jonathan Bernier midway through the second period).

Detroit’s last victory against Pittsburgh came at Little Caesars Arena back on Apr. 2, 2019. Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha each scored twice in a 4–1 Red Wings victory. (The Wings haven’t won a game in Pittsburgh since Feb. 19, 2017, when Tomas Tatar and Thomas Vanek scored back-to-back goals early in the third period to seal a 5–2 victory).

Pittsburgh enters Friday’s action having lost in overtime to the expansion Seattle Kraken on Jan. 27. Evgeni Malkin scored the Penguins’ lone goal in a 2–1 loss, which nevertheless helped Pittsburgh reach the 60-point plateau in just its 43rd game of the season.

Detroit has 18 fewer points than Pittsburgh in the same number of games this year. After an exciting start to the season, the Red Wings have fallen firmly out of the playoff picture and have a 3–4–3 record in their last 10 contests. The good news: Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin each tallied their 20th goals of the 2021–22 campaign in Detroit’s turbulent 8–5 loss to Chicago on Wednesday.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The Red Wings

Projected lineup via DailyFaceoff.com:

Vladislav NamestnikovDylan LarkinLucas Raymond
Robby FabbriPius SuterTyler Bertuzzi
Adam ErneMichael RasmussenFilip Zadina
Givani SmithJoe VelenoSam Gagner

Danny DeKeyser – Moritz Seider
Marc StaalFilip Hronek
Nick LeddyGustav Lindstrom

Projected starter: Alex Nedeljkovic (12–11–5, .912 SV%)

The Penguins

Projected lineup via DailyFaceoff.com:

Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust
Danton HeinenEvgeni MalkinKasperi Kapanen
Evan RodriguesJeff CarterBrock McGinn
Zach Aston-ReeseBrian BoyleDominik Simon

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Brian DumoulinKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino
Michael MathesonChad Ruhwedel

Projected starter: Casey DeSmith (3–3–1, .886 SV%).

Scoring leaders

Detroit: Tyler Bertuzzi (20 goals, 38 points); Dylan Larkin (20 goals, 38 points); Lucas Raymond (11 goals, 34 points); Moritz Seider (four goals, 27 points); Filip Hronek (four goals, 22 points).

Pittsburgh: Jake Guentzel (21 goals, 40 points); Kris Letang (five goals, 38 points); Sidney Crosby (11 goals, 34 points); Evan Rodrigues (15 goals, 32 points); Bryan Rust (10 goals, 28 points).

Players to watch

Detroit: Will the Red Wings trade Adam Erne? The 26-year-old forward has had a really rough go in his third season with the Wings, posting just 10 points and taking 49 shots in 42 games this year. Erne has one year after this one at a $2.1 million AAV before he can become an unrestricted free agent; he has just one goal and four points in his last 22 games.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Pittsburgh: Opposing teams, beware: Evgeni Malkin has returned. The 35-year-old centre is currently riding a six-game point streak and has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in nine games since Jan. 11 after making his triumphant return from a severe knee injury. Malkin isn’t just playing to prove he’s better than his 28 points in 33 games last season would suggest — he’s also a pending unrestricted free agent in need of a new deal this summer.

Viewing and listening options

Friday’s game in Pittsburgh will be broadcast on Bally Sports Detroit starting at 7:00 p.m. ET. It’ll be sent over the airwaves on WXYT-FM 97.1 “The Ticket” in the Detroit area, as well as on the Red Wings’ official website.

More from WingsNation


Looking to up your fantasy hockey game? DailyFaceoff has the tools you need for both daily and season-long fantasy leagues, including a lineup optimizer, daily projections, and a whole lot more. Sign up for the DailyFaceoff tools here.