Penguins-Red Wings Preview
Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to get their power play going again, while the Detroit Red Wings' unit hasn't made much of an impact.
After being held without a point for the first time this season, Crosby aims to help the visiting Penguins bounce back from their second loss in three games Thursday night against the Red Wings.
Crosby leads the Penguins (3-2-0) with nine points, but he was held off the score sheet and was a minus-2 in Wednesday's 5-3 loss to Philadelphia. Pittsburgh's NHL-leading power play also came up empty for the first time this season, going 0 for 2 after converting on 8 of 17 chances and scoring at least one goal in each of the first four games.
"I think we could definitely be sharper," Crosby said. "Whether that's because we haven't played a lot of games or we weren't focused on executing the right way. It could be either of the two but we definitely weren't sharp in a lot of areas."
The Penguins' power play will be tested again since Detroit's penalty kill is flawless through 18 chances, joining Columbus as the only teams remaining yet to give up a power-play goal.
The Red Wings (3-1-2), however, haven't been nearly that effective on the man advantage, going 2 for 24 and failing to convert on all 13 attempts over the past three games.
They went 0 for 3 in a 2-1 overtime defeat at Montreal on Tuesday.
"We've got to get our power play fixed," coach Mike Babcock said.
That unit figures to improve with the return of Pavel Datsyuk, who had an assist against the Canadiens in his season debut after suffering a separated right shoulder Sept. 22.
Babcock, however, is tempering any potential expectations.
"It's going to take him a bit," Babcock told the team's official website. "He's an elite player, but when you miss training camp it takes you some time. I don't care how good a player you are, the NHL is flying out there. (When) you come back and you're not up to pace it shows."
While Datsyuk attempts to get up to speed, center Henrik Zetterberg looks to continue his torrid scoring pace. The captain leads Detroit with seven points, tallying six in the past three games and scoring one goal in each of the last two.
Zetterberg, though, has no power-play points this season.
Pittsburgh isn't having any such trouble with Evgeni Malkin, who has five of his eight points on the man advantage. The center has at least one point in each of the first five games, one shy of his longest scoring streak to start a season set as a rookie in 2006-07.
Malkin has 21 points in 20 career meetings with Detroit, including a pair of Stanley Cup Finals. He had three goals and two assists in two visits to Joe Louis Arena last season.
Crosby has eight points in nine regular-season matchups with the Red Wings, collecting two goals with an assist while the Penguins went 2-0-1 in last season's series.
Detroit is well aware of the threat posed by Malkin and Crosby.
"They're talented players out there but just the drive and determination," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "Rarely do they quit on a play, they just want more and to be better and better each day. I think that's something that really stands out about them."