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Penguins preview: 12/14 at Red Wings

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It’s always a good time when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings face off against each other, but it’s even a better time when it is in Detroit, where the Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup. The Penguins are looking for their third straight victory after defeating the New Jersey Devils, 3-2, last night. The Red Wings are looking to get back on the winning track after losing their last two games, the latest loss coming on Thursday night to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

When and where: Joe Lewis Arena (Detroit, MI); 7:00 pm/et (Root Sports, FS-Detroit, NHL Network)

Records: Penguins (22-10-1, 45 pts.); Red Wings (15-9-9, 39 pts.)

Season series: First meeting of the season.

Last meeting: It has been a little over two years since the Penguins and Red Wings saw each other (thanks, lockout). Pittsburgh and Detroit last faced-off on December 13, 2011 in Pittsburgh with the Wings coming out on top, 4-1. The Red Wings were led by two third period goals from Dan Cleary along with goals from Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen. Jimmy Howard stopped twenty-five of twenty-six Pittsburgh shots for his eighteenth win of the season.

Who to keep an eye on:

1. Mike Babcock: The Red Wings head coach will be heading to Sochi, Russia to coach Team Canada and defend their gold medal in the Olympics. In his ninth season at the helm of the Wings, Babcock has led his team to back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2008 and 2009 including a cup victory in 2008.

2. Dan Bylsma: Like his counterpart tonight, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma will also be heading to Sochi, but to be behind the bench of Team USA. Bylsma was once a player under Mike Babcock with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The Penguins bench boss defeated Babcock’s Wings in 2009 for the franchise’s third Stanley Cup.

Ex-Penguin alert: RW Mikael Samuelsson (2003)

Injuries:

Penguins: G Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), D Rob Scuderi (broken ankle), RW Beau Bennett (wrist/hand), D Paul Martin (broken tibia), LW Tanner Glass (broken hand), D Brooks Orpik (concussion), C Andrew Ebbett (broken ankle)

Red Wings: G Jimmy Howard (sprained MCL), D Danny DeKeyser (shoulder), LW Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc), C Stephen Weiss (groin), C Darren Helm (shoulder)

Additional notes:

-Jimmy Howard will miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL. Petr Mrazek was recalled to fill-in as the backup behind Jonas Gustavsson.

-Red Wings lead the league in OT losses with nine, and are 0-6 in the shootout. Just some food for thought.

-Steve Yzerman will be playing in the alumni game against the Toronto Maple Leaf alumni the day before the Winter Classic. So that’s cool.

-Remember when Dan Cleary was a Flyer?

-Max Talbot. 2009.

Projected lines:

Penguins (with no morning skate, assume same as last night)

14 Chris Kunitz (A)-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis

36 Jussi Jokinen-71 Evgeni Malkin (A)-59 Jayson Megna

23 Chris Conner-16 Brandon Sutter-46 Joe Vitale

27 Craig Adams-38 Zach Sill-12 Chuck Kobasew

3 Olli Maatta-58 Kris Letang

2 Matt Niskanen-5 Deryk Engelland

47 Simon Despres-41 Robert Bortuzzo

37 Jeff Zatkoff (4-2-0, .901 Save %, 2.80 GAA, 1 SO)

Red Wings (via redwings.nhl.com)

8 Justin Abdelkader-13 Pavel Datsyuk (A)-11 Daniel Alfredsson

14 Gustav Nyquist-93 Johan Franzen-44 Todd Bertuzzi

20 Drew Miller-18 Joakim Andersson-21 Tomas Tatar

17 Patrick Eaves-41 Luke Glendening-71 Daniel Cleary

55 Niklas Kronwall (A)-52 Jonathan Ericsson

27 Kyle Quincey-2 Brendan Smith

23 Brian Lashoff-4 Jakub Kindl

50 Jonas Gustavsson (8-1-2, .933 Save %, 1.93 GAA, 0 SO)

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