Monday, December 12, 2011

Game #31 - vs Detroit Red Wings

2011-12 Game 31

Detroit Red Wings (18-9-1, 37 points) at Pittsburgh Penguins (17-9-4, 38 points)
Zetterberg is on pace for his lowest scoring output since before the lockout.

Why does it matter?

The Pens will need to get used to the Life Without Sidney Crosby game yet again.  The Captain is out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms.  They also have a laundry list of other injuries, including Jordan Staal, Richard Park, Kris Letang, Zybanek Michalek (though he is skating) and Ben Lovejoy.  The Wings will present quite the challenge.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - A mixed effort against an inferior team on Saturday produced two points.  Couple that with the latest round of Crosby news, and things aren't going very well.
  • Red Wings - The Wings just pasted the Coyotes and Jets by a combined score of 12-3.
Questions to be answered
  • Which Wings team will show up?  The one that is offensively dominant and kicks the stuffing out of you, or the one that is punch-less and lost 10 times will scoring 13 goals?
  • Will Jordan Staal be available?  If not, does Pascal Dupuis play the pivot again?  I don't see any other alternative.
  • Can the Pens avoid the slow start?  If the Wings jump out fast, it will be more like the Boston or Philly game than the Islanders game.
Keys to the game
  • Keep them to three or less.  The Wings record when scoring three goals or less is an amazingly bad 5-9-1.  Two or less and they are just 1-9-1.  The Wings don't win low scoring games this year.
  • Win at even-strength.  The Pens need to dominate here.  They need to get their game going and carry the play.  Serious time spent in the defensive end will expose the depleted corps.
  • Stay out of the box.  The Pens have provided 18 chances over the past three games.  That's way too many.  It's a sign of a lack of concentration.  No dumb penalties.

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