Thursday 7 p.m. ET
Free NHL Pick: Pens PL
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
If the Pittsburgh Penguins go on to make the Stanley Cup playoffs and challenge for their third Cup in 4 seasons, they may look back to December 19 when they went into Washington and their captain led them to a huge 2-1 statement over their rivals and the defending Stanley Cup champions. Sidney Crosby got into some smacktalk with his longtime nemesis Alex Ovechkin and had a goal and an assist to set the tone for what is now the most consistent hockey he and his club have played. The Pens captain also had 3 helpers in his team’s last game, a 3-0 win at Carolina before the holiday break. The Penguins, after two months of mediocre hockey at best, may finally being finding their groove as the calendar turns to 2019. They will keep the win streak going on Thursday as they beat the Red Wings in their first meeting of the season.
The Red Wings meanwhile, are still in playoff contention, but the chinks in the armor are starting to show more as we near the mid-way point of the season. The Wings come into this tilt in Pittsburgh 3-5-2 in their last 10 games and they’ve also been riddled with injuries as of late, missing the likes of Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Mike Green and Danny DeKeyser. Jimmy Howard is still somehow having a career season between the pipes for Detroit but he can win games by himself and this battered Red Wings squad looks like they’re in for a rough rest of the season as the games get even harder.
The Penguins are 18-18 against the spread and 10-9 at home. Pittsburgh has scored 119 goals and allowed 110. They’re 15-16-5 on the over/under and 7-9-1 at home. The Pens are 14-22 on the puck line and 7-12 at home Crosby leads the team in goals with 16 lamplighters and points with 41. Malkin leads the team in assists with 26 helpers.
The Red Wings are 13-23 against the spread and 7-11 on the road. Detroit has scored 109 goals and allowed 126. They’re 18-18- 2 on the over/under and 11-7-0 on the road. The Wings are 24-14 on the puck line and 12-6 on the road. Dylan Larkin leads the team in goals with 15 and points with 36. Gustav Nyquist leads the Wings in assists with 22 helpers.
- For the Wings, Howard is 10-8-0-4 with a 2.66 GAA and .922 save percentage.
- Jonathan Bernier is 5-9-0-2 with a 3.47 GAA and .893 save percentage.
- For the Penguins, Casey DeSmith is 11-6-0-4 with a 2.42 GAA and .926 save percentage.
- Matt Murray is 7-5-0-1 with a 3.40 GAA and .900 save percentage.
- For the Red Wings, Green is out 2-3 more weeks with a lower-body injury. DeKeyser is on injured reserve with a hand injury. Forward Anthony Mantha is out 2-3 more weeks with a hand injury. Athanasiou is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Forward Darren Helm is out four weeks with a shoulder injury. Forward Evgeny Svechnikov is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
- For the Penguins, defenseman Jamie Oleksiak is day-to-day with a concussion and defenseman Just Schultz is out indefinitely with a leg injury.
Prediction: Penguins 4 Red Wings 1