The Penguins (17-9-4) host the Detroit Red Wings (18-9-1) tonight at the Consol Energy Center.
This could be a long one for Pens fans.
As reported earlier today, the Penguins could be missing their top four centers for tonight’s game. If that’s the case, the team would roll Pascal Dupuis, Joe Vitale, Craig Adams and Jason Williams down the middle. Williams was recalled from Wilkes-Barre this morning.
Here’s a complete list of the Penguins’ current injuries:
– Kris Letang – D , concussion
– Zbynek Michalek – D, concussion
– Richard Park – F, fractured foot
– Dustin Jeffrey – C, knee
– Ben Lovejoy – D, broken wrist
– Brian Strait – D, elbow
– Sidney Crosby – C, concussion
– Robert Bortuzzo – D, concussion
Game Time Decision:
– Evgeni Malkin – C, undisclosed
– Jordan Staal – C, lower body
The team has lost a total of 143 man-games this season. The New York Islanders led the league in man-games lost last season eclipsing the 500 mark, while the Penguins were around 350.
The Penguins will be without five defensemen tonight, including potential Norris Trophy candidate Letang and leading shot blocker Michalek.
If both Malkin and Staal sit tonight, it’s going to be ugly. The Wings score 3.14 goals per game and are 8-2-0 in their last 10.
The Penguins win games with their depth, but there’s really only a certain amount depth can help when your top four centers and top defensive pairing go down.
The team will be have to focus primarily on defense and taking away space if they want any chance of staying in this game with the talented Wings. Marc-Andre Fleury will have to be spectacular and they’ll have to win this one 1-0 or 2-1. Zero chance of us winning an offensive game without Geno and Staal tonight.
I won’t even bother going into each team’s per-game stats because that’s all been thrown out the window with these injuries.
Jimmy Howard will be in goal for Detroit. He’s having a great season with a .931 SV% and 1.85 GAA.
Game time is 7:00 PM and will be televised on Root Sports.
Let’s Go Pens.
Follow Troy on Twitter @TroyPfaff