Detroit Red Wings, Penguins top NHL odds slate for Monday

By: Brad Young | Sunday, March 20, 2011

The home team is 9-1 the last 10 meetings between the Pens and Wings.

The National Hockey League’s regular season only has a couple of weeks remaining, and two playoff teams square off Monday night hoping to improve their postseason seeding.

Pittsburgh (41-22-5-3) has the daunting task of playing back-to-back games after Sunday’s home contest with the New York Rangers.  The Penguins are currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, but they are just one point ahead of fifth-place Tampa Bay.

Detroit (43-21-5-3) has almost no chance of catching top-seed Vancouver in the Western Conference standings.  The Red Wings remain two points ahead of third-place San Jose, and five points ahead of fourth-place Phoenix.

Pittsburgh is 4-1 its last five games heading into Sunday’s action after throttling Ottawa Tuesday as 127 road ‘chalk,’ 5-1.  The combined six goals eclipsed the five-goal closing total, helping the ‘over’ cash the second consecutive contest.

The Penguins took control of the contest compliments of three goals in the second period.  Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal each had a goal and an assist in the victory, while Chris Kunitz recorded three assists.  Ben Lovejoy, Matt Cooke and Zbynek Michalek also lit the lamp, while backup goaltender Brent Johnson stopped 21 shots.

Detroit was riding a four-game winning streak before Saturday’s setback to Nashville as a 103 road favorite, 3-1.  The combined four goals failed to topple the 5 ½-goal closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 5-1 the past six games.

Daniel Cleary netted the lone goal for the Red Wings, and the team finished with advantages in faceoffs won, 39-30, and shots on goal, 40-39.  His first-period tally gave Detroit a lead until midway through the second stanza.

The home team is 9-1 the past 10 games in the Pittsburgh-Detroit series.  The Penguins won the lone encounter this season Jan. 18 as a 142 home ‘chalk,’ 4-1.  The combined five goals slithered below the NHL odds, helping the ‘under’ cash the sixth straight matchup. 

Ironically, the lone road victory the past 10 games between these teams occurred in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2009.  The Penguins won that matchup as a 172 road underdog, 2-1.

Pittsburgh right wing Arron Asham (concussion) and defenseman Matt Niskanen (flu) are ‘probable’ against the Red Wings, while center Mark Letestu (shoulder) is ‘out.’  The Penguins’ next contest is Thursday at Philadelphia.  Pittsburgh has seen the ‘under’ go 6-2 its past eight road endeavors.

Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), center Johan Franzen (upper body) and left wing Jiri Hudler (flu) are ‘questionable’ versus the Penguins according to the Don Best Sports injury report.  Defenseman Rusian Salei (personal) is ‘probable,’ while goaltender Chris Osgood (groin) is ‘out.’

The Red Wings continue their five-game homestand against Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago and St. Louis.  Detroit is 9-0 its last nine games against Eastern Conference opponents.

Versus will provide coverage of Monday’s matchup beginning at 4:30 p.m. PT from Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.

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