Wings meet highest-scoring team in Eastern Conference

Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:17:40 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 14 2013 03:28:22 PM EST


The Detroit Red Wings have not fared well at home this season, and a matchup with the highest-scoring team in the Eastern Conference doesn't figure to change their fortunes. Detroit looks to halt a three-game winless streak when it hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. The Red Wings, who are beginning a four-game homestand, are just 5-6-6 in their own building as opposed to an impressive 10-3-3 mark on the road.

Detroit will be without Jimmy Howard, who is expected to miss two to four weeks with an MCL sprain. Jonas Gustavsson will have the task of trying to stop the Penguins, whose offense is sparked by two of the league's three leading scorers in Sidney Crosby (first, 44 points) and Evgeni Malkin (third, 38). Pittsburgh is coming off a 3-2 home triumph over New Jersey on Friday, while the Red Wings dropped a 2-1 shootout decision at Tampa Bay on Thursday to fall to 0-1-2 in their last three contests.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHLN, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN (Detroit)

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (22-10-1): Pittsburgh scored three times in the first period Friday and managed to hold on for its seventh victory in eight games. The Devils kept Malkin off the scoresheet, ending his 10-game point streak, and held Crosby to one assist as Pascal Dupuis, Chris Conner and Jayson Megna scored the goals for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 37 shots en route to his league-leading 18th win of the season.

ABOUT THE RED WINGS (15-9-9): Howard was injured during practice on Wednesday, prompting Detroit to recall Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. After going 1-1-0 last season, the 21-year-old Czech made his only appearance of 2013-14 a memorable one, stopping all 14 shots he faced against Edmonton on Nov. 2 for his first NHL shutout. The Red Wings made some roster moves Friday, recalling center Luke Glendening and right wing Patrick Eaves from Grand Rapids and assigning center Cory Emmerton to the Griffins.


1. Penguins LW James Neal will serve the third contest of his five-game suspension for kneeing Boston's Brad Marchand in the head last Saturday.

2. The Red Wings have lost three of their last four home games and are 2-5-6 in their last 13 at Joe Louis Arena.

3. Since yielding five unanswered goals - including four in the third period - in a 6-3 loss to Philadelphia on Dec. 4, Detroit has allowed a total of six over its last four contests (1-1-2).

PREDICTION: Penguins 5, Red Wings 3

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