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Penguins and Red Wings renew past hostilities on TSN2

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The Sports Network
3/21/2011 12:19:20 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Red Wings and Penguins will renew their interconference rivalry this evening, when Detroit welcomes Pittsburgh for a battle at Joe Louis Arena.

The Pens and Red Wings have become very familiar with each other in recent years, as the clubs met in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and '09. Detroit won the first series in six games, but Pittsburgh was crowned champion the following year after winning a classic Game 7 in the Motor City.

You can watch the game live tonight on TSN2 beginning at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.

Pittsburgh recorded a 4-1 home win over the Red Wings on Jan. 18 and this marks the third straight year that these clubs are playing twice in the regular season. The Pens have won two of the last three regular-season meetings, but Detroit has still taken four out of seven in the series.

Despite winning that memorable Game 7 on June 12, 2009, the Pens have lost three of four and four of their last six regular-season tilts in Detroit.

Both the Penguins and Red Wings are in good shape in their respective conference playoff races. Detroit is leading the Central Division and is second in the Western Conference with 94 points. Pittsburgh is fourth in the East with 90 points and is also trailing Philadelphia by six points for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Pittsburgh is also just one point ahead of idle Tampa Bay for the conference's fourth seed.

The Penguins are coming off a regulation loss, as they were handed a 5-2 setback Sunday by the visiting New York Rangers. Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan scored power-play goals just 11 seconds apart in the third period to erase a one-goal deficit and help propel the Rangers to the win at Consol Energy Center.

Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz scored for Pittsburgh, which had a two-game win streak snapped. Marc Andre-Fleury made 22 saves in defeat.

Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke was given a game misconduct and a five-minute major for elbowing Ryan McDonagh early in the third period and Cooke could possibly receive a suspension from the NHL before tonight's game.

Of course, The Penguins are still awaiting the possible return of captain Sidney Crosby. The Penguins have been without the services of Crosby since Jan. 5 because of a concussion, but the center is still tops on the club with 32 goals and 66 points.

Crosby began skating last Monday for the first time since his injury and has continued to work out on the ice. However, it is still unknown when, or if, the superstar can return to game action this season.

Tonight marks the first of two straight on the road for the Pens, who are 19-10-6 as the guest this season.

The Red Wings will try to get back in the win column tonight after dropping Saturday's regulation decision in Nashville. Jonathon Blum's power-play goal in the third period put Nashville in front, and the Predators went on to take a 3-1 victory over Detroit.

Detroit had won four straight before dropping Saturday's game in the Music City.

Jimmy Howard turned aside 36 shots for Detroit, while Danny Cleary had the Red Wings' lone goal.

This evening marks the start of a five-game homestand for the Red Wings, who are 19-11-4 as the hosts this season.

On the injury front, Detroit forwards Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Johan Franzen (undisclosed) and Jiri Hudler (illness) are questionable for tonight. Defenseman Ruslan Salei is expected back today after sitting out the last three games due to personal reasons.

Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood is still sidelined with a groin injury, but could return to the bench sometime this week.

Nicklas Lidstrom (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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