Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings Matchup

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

Little Caesars Arena is playing host an Eastern Conference matchup as the Pittsburgh Penguins face off against the Detroit Red Wings. The first puck will drop at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 31, and it can be caught live on Fox Sports Detroit.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings Odds

Pittsburgh (-135) is currently favored over Detroit (+115) and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at 6 goals (-110 for the over, -110 for the under).

Pittsburgh is 19-20 straight up (SU) and has lost 7.7 units for moneyline bettors thus far. 20 of its contests have gone over the total, while 17 have gone under and just two have pushed. The Pens are 7-13 SU on the road in 2017-18.

Pittsburgh has converted on 24.8 percent of its power play chances this season, a figure that’s good enough for fourth-best in the NHL. Its penalty kill is ranked 16th out of 31 teams, and the teams successfully killed off 80.9 percent of its penalties.

For the team as a whole, Pittsburgh has been penalized 4.4 times per game this season, and 3.2 per game over its last five on the road. The teams had to defend opponent power plays just 7.8 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Averaging 25.9 saves per game with a .904 save percentage, Matt Murray (15-12-1) has been the best option in goal for Pittsburgh this year. If it chooses to give him a rest, however, Pittsburgh might turn to Tristan Jarry (5-7-2), who has a .921 save percentage and 2.40 goals against average this year.

Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin will both be offensive focal points for the visiting Penguins. Kessel (41 points) is up to 16 goals and 25 assists, and has recorded multiple points nine times. Malkin has 13 goals and 22 assists to his nameand has notched a point in 24 games.

On the other bench, Detroit is 14-23 straight up (SU) and has lost 8.8 units for moneyline bettors thus far. Through 37 regular season matches, 19 of its games have gone under the total, while 18 have gone over and none have pushed. It’s 7-12 SU as the home team this year.

Detroit has converted on 20.3 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a mark that’s right around league average. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 14th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 81.3 percent of all penalties.

Detroit skaters have been sent to the penalty box 4.0 times per game in total this season, and 2.6 per game over their last five outings. The team has had to stave off opponent power plays just 7.7 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Jimmy Howard (25.8 saves per game) has been the primary option in goal for Detroit. Howard has 11 wins, 20 losses, and six overtime losses to his credit and has recorded a pedestrian 2.78 goals against average and a .910 save percentage this season.

The Wings will be led on offense by Dylan Larkin (five goals, 26 assists).

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings Betting Predictions

Predictions: SU Winner – Red Wings, O/U – Over

Betting Notes

  • Detroit is 3-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Pittsburgh is 2-1 in shootouts.
  • The total has gone under in three of Detroit’s last five outings.
  • Pittsburgh’s attempted 34.8 shots per contest overall this season (the second-most in the NHL), and 33.3 in its last 10 outings.
  • 71.4 percent of Detroit’s wins have come by two or more goals (the team is 10-12 overall in such games) while only 36.8 percent of Pittsburgh’s wins have come by two goals or more (7-8 overall in such games).
  • Pittsburgh skaters have accounted for the fourth-most hits in the league (23.9 per game), but that numbers down to just 18.0 hits over their last five away games.