Red Wings' Inept Offense to Keep Game vs. Penguins 'Under'

Dana Lane

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 12:58 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2018 12:58 PM UTC

The "under" is 37-18-2 in Detroit's past 57 game against Eastern Conference opponents, and that trend should continue tonight when they host Pittsburgh.

[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"https://www.youtube.com/embed/xzSg0-C7yzE", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]Tuesday NHL: Penguins vs. Red WingsFree NHL Pick: Under 6, -110Best Line Offered: Heritage

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You don’t really hear a lot of talk from the Pittsburgh Penguins (43-27-6, 92 points, +18 goal differential) about how important it is to catch Washington for superiority in the Metropolitan Division. That’s not what the Penguins do. They know that if they are on their game, there isn’t anyone in the league better. Watch enough Penguins hockey and you know that Mike Sullivan is in management mode, meaning, make sure the Pens don’t peak too early.

The Detroit Red Wings (27-38-11, 65, -43) don’t have much to be happy about, but one thing is for sure: The Wings are better than last season , even if their record might not reflect that. Word is starting to spread that Jeff Blashill is on the coaching hot seat. That's a situation that usually inspires a team to play better, even if it’s just for a few games. Defense is where teams improve the most with such inspiration.

Matt Murray (24-14-3, 2.88, .908) is Pittsburgh's probable starting goaltender tonight. Jimmy Howard (19-27-8, 2.88, .909) is likely to be in Detroit's net. The puck drops at Little Caesars Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on NHL Network.

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Trending: Bertuzzi, Nyquist bright spots in loss: https://t.co/hrHBan3h5o pic.twitter.com/6bDM19NsgX

— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 27, 2018
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On the NHL odds board the Penguins opened too high for my taste (-215), but that has come down because the public agrees that the number was too high with early money pushing the moneyline down to -207 at Heritage; still too high for anyone trying to manage their bankroll properly.

For as much interest as there seems to be in betting the side, there doesn’t seem to be much of a desire to bet the "total," with the number holding firm at 5.5, -125 (under).

In their previous meeting in mid-January, the ‘"under" cashed in Pittsburgh's 4-1 win, led by Tristan Jarry's 29 saves and Evgeni Malkin's two goals and two assists. Detroit had only 16 shots through the first two periods.

After the Wings' 4-2 loss to Montreal on Monday night, Blashill said there were “too many passengers.” Now, from a handicapping standpoint, let’s sit back and see how his team responds. Will they play well against Pittsburgh? That is, not will they win, but will they compete hard? If you say no, then I would offer up the Wings as a "go against" the rest of the way. If they respond, that means the team is engaged. The answer will go a long way in determining Blashill’s future.

I believe the Wings are closer to getting over the .500 mark than their record would suggest. Detroit has dropped 14 one-goal games, the most in the NHL.

“I think overall we are playing good but we don’t score enough goals,” right winger Martin Frk said. “We are right there and they just score on us. It’s usually like five, six minutes left in the game and now we have to come back. It’s a little bit tough."

I think that accurately sums it up. With your NHL picks, let’s get on the "under."

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