Red Wings-Penguins Preview

It's unclear if the Pittsburgh Penguins will have Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin for their attempt to rebound from just their second regulation loss in 10 games.

A matchup with the slumping Detroit Red Wings on Sunday could give the Penguins the chance to pick up a win even if their two superstars are absent.

Crosby was scratched just before Saturday's game against Boston because he "wasn't feeling well," coach Mike Johnston said. Pittsburgh (39-19-10) then lost Malkin after the first period to an unknown injury. He appeared to get hurt following a collision with Boston's Chris Kelly in a 2-0 loss.

"They're both in the trainer's room. We'll get a better evaluation shortly as to whether we think they might be able to play (Sunday) or not," Johnston said after the game.

The Penguins, 7-2-1 in their last 10, will try to avoid their first back-to-back losses in nearly a month by sending Detroit (37-19-11) to its third straight defeat and fifth in six games. Pittsburgh's most recent losing streak was a 0-2-1 skid Feb. 15-19.

The Red Wings were throttled 7-2 by Philadelphia on Saturday in their opener to a four-game trip. Jimmy Howard was in net for every Flyers goal, marking a career high.

"Too many games when other team is faster, stronger from the start," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "We're talking about it, but you can't just talk about it. You have to show it too. Enough is enough."

Detroit hasn't dropped three straight on the road since Nov. 2-5, and two of those losses were decided after regulation. The Red Wings are 1-5-2 in their last eight trips to Pittsburgh including the postseason and lost 4-1 in their only other visit this season Feb. 11.

Crosby and Malkin didn't register a point in that game. Malkin had an assist in a 4-3 overtime loss in Detroit on Oct. 23, giving him four goals and five assists in his last seven matchups.

Crosby has one assist in his past four but would enter this one with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his last nine overall games if he returns.

"Obviously, those are two huge pieces to our team. Hopefully, those guys won't be out long," forward Craig Adams said.

Justin Abdelkader, who scored the winning goal in October, tallied his sixth in six games Saturday. He has also scored in three straight and has one goal and one assist in seven career regular-season games versus Pittsburgh.

Zetterberg has fared much better in his matchups with eight goals and 15 assists in his last 18, including the playoffs. Niklas Kronwall has three goals and six assists in a seven-game point streak against Pittsburgh.

They'll try to give Detroit a nine-game streak with at least one power-play goal for the first time since March 2011. The Red Wings have given up one in nine straight and haven't done so in 10 in a row since a 13-game streak in 2005-06.

Pittsburgh is 1 for 18 with a man advantage in its last six contests but has killed off 14 of 16 penalties in its past five.


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