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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 14th (All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (22-10-1) at Detroit Red Wings (15-9-9), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After failing to solve their shootout issues, the Detroit Red Wings aim to avoid a fourth straight setback on Saturday night as they host the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins.
Detroit has lost four of its last five games, including back-to-back shootout contests. Overall, the Red Wings are 0-6 in the tiebreaker this season and have lost each of their past 11 games that have gone to a shootout.
Jonas Gustavsson did his best to break that trend on Thursday night versus Tampa Bay, stopping the first five shooters he faced in a shootout before the Lightning's Martin St. Louis snuck a wrister by him.
Johan Franzen was the last hope for Detroit, but Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop easily turned away his final wrist shot.
Kyle Quincey netted the lone goal in regulation for the Red Wings and Gustavsson stopped 26-of-27 shots through overtime in the setback.
"I felt good about my game," Gustavsson said.
It is good for Detroit that Gustavsson is feeling good since it is expected to be without No. 1 netminder Jimmy Howard for the next 2-to-4 weeks due to a sprained MCL in his left knee.
Wings general manager Ken Holland confirmed to the Detroit Free Press on Friday that the Maine product injured himself during a Wednesday practice session in Tampa.
Howard is 6-8-7 with a 2.65 goals against average and two shutouts in 21 games this season.
Detroit is also playing without leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg, who is on injured reserve due to a herniated disc.
The Penguins, meanwhile, rolled to a seventh victory in eight games last night with a 3-2 triumph over the New Jersey Devils. Pascal Dupuis, Chris Conner and Jayson Megna all scored in the first period for Pittsburgh and Marc-Andre Fleury, who was bested twice in the second frame, ended with 37 saves.
"They didn't quit. They kept playing hard. They kept coming at us," Fleury said of the Devils applying pressure in the third. "It was nice to hold on and get those two points."
Fleury won his NHL-high 18th game of the season, while Sidney Crosby notched an assist for his league-leading 44th point. Crosby has three goals and five assists in five games this month.
Forward James Neal served the second contest of his five-game ban for kneeing Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head last Saturday night.
The Penguins swept the two-game season series between these clubs in 2010-11, but the Red Wings countered by winning the lone matchup of the following season 4-1 in Pittsburgh.
These clubs also met in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals, with the Red Wings claiming the Cup in 2008 before the Penguins won the title the following season.
Fleury is 4-5-0 with a 2.75 GAA in nine regular-season games versus Detroit, while rookie backup Jeff Zatkoff, who last started on Nov. 30, has never faced the club.
Gustavsson is 2-3-1 with a 3.63 GAA in his career versus the Pens.
12/14 10:25:30 ET