Following a miserable 8-2 defeat at the hands of the Islanders, the Red Wings have officially established a new low point this season. After allowing eight goals against a team that is averaging just 2.87 goals/game this season, Detroit will be looking to bounce back during tonight’s game against Pittsburgh.

To make matters worse for the Red Wings, the Penguins enter this matchup having won five of their last seven games including their 7-3 victory over the Wild back on Tuesday. In addition, Pittsburgh’s offense has also scored four goals or more in four of their previous five games. So, it may be difficult for Detroit to earn their first win of the season against Pittsburgh during their second meeting of the 2019-20 campaign.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

Patrik Nemeth
Mike Green
Trevor Daley
Filip Hronek
Alex Biega
Madison Bowey

While minor, there are a few lineup changes to mention before puck drop later tonight. First, Luke Glendening is being promoted back up to the Red Wings’ second line, with Adam Erne moving back down to the third line.

Secondly, veteran defenseman Trevor Daley is expected to return to tonight’s lineup after he missed the last four games with an undisclosed injury. With Daley returning to Detroit’s second defensive pairing, Madison Bowey is being bumped back down to the third defensive pairing alongside Alex Biega.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jack Johnson
Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson
John Marino
Juuso Riikola
Chad Ruhwedel

When these two teams met last month, the Penguins were without captain Sidney Crosby. However, “Sid the Kid” returned to Pittsburgh’s lineup back on Tuesday and he’s already performing at an elite level once again. Despite being sidelined since Nov. 10 with a sports hernia, Crosby has scored two goals and five points over his last two games.

If Detroit has any chance of winning at home tonight, their team will need to be able to prevent Crosby from having a major impact on the score sheet. Although, accomplishing that feat will prove to be easier said than done.

Three Thoughts

1.) More Struggles In The Blue Paint For Detroit

With Jonathan Bernier sidelined with an undisclosed injury until after the All-Star break, the Red Wings’ woes in net will likely continue tonight against the Penguins. During Detroit’s disastrous performance against New York, Calvin Pickard allowed five goals on just 19 shots and Jimmy Howard surrendered three goals while facing seven shots on net.

Based on the morning skate, Howard is slated to start in net during tonight’s contest. Although, the 35-year-old has been awful since he returned from injury back on Dec. 22. Over his last five games, the veteran goaltender has allowed five goals against in three of those recent starts. Based on the Penguins’ surging offense, Pickard may be needed in relief of Howard at some point during the game.

2.) Continued Success For 1st PP Unit 

Despite recording the third-worst powerplay conversion rate (9.5%) throughout the league since Jan. 1, Detroit’s special teams unit scored on two of their three opportunities against Pittsburgh during their matchup back on Dec. 7. The Red Wings have also just promoted their impressive young defenseman, Filip Hronek, to their top powerplay line as well.

In total, Detroit’s first powerplay unit now features Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina along with Hronek. Based on the insane amount of talent on this line, the Red Wings are bound to break out of their season-long drought with the man advantage.

3.) Another Strong Opening Period From Pittsburgh

During their last visit to Detroit, Pittsburgh produced a pair of goals during the first 20 minutes of their eventual 5-3 victory. Since that game, the Penguins have scored the fourth-most goals (22) during the first period among all 31 teams in the league.

Since the Red Wings are tied for the third-most losses (12) after trailing in the opening frame this season, they’ll need to attempt to contain the Penguins’ red-hot offense if they hope to come away with a victory later tonight.