Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings Pick & Prediction MARCH 17th 2024

The Detroit Red Wings will look for their second win in a row Sunday evening when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that might be more significant than it would seem at first glance. The Red Wings are trying to hold on to a playoff spot they just regained. They sit in the second and last wild-card position in the Eastern Conference and probably are fortunate to be there, considering they just ended a seven-game losing streak. “I’ve been part of a few losing streaks during my career, and they all suck,” goaltender James Reimer said Saturday after he made 25 saves to help Detroit end the skid with a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It was the Red Wings’ first victory in March – the team most recently won on Feb. 27, 8-3 over Washington. The Wings were outscored 36-12 during the seven-game skid. The win over the Sabres, combined with a New York Islanders overtime loss, moved Detroit back into a playoff spot, but there are five teams, including Pittsburgh, on the outside but still feasibly in the hunt for a postseason spot in the East. Reimer said his team’s “sense of urgency was just incredible” Saturday, and the Red Wings likely will need that again Sunday. Detroit forward Christian Fischer, who scored Saturday, had a hard time describing what was different in that game, why he and his teammates were able to break out of their funk or how they could bottle it moving forward. “I wish there was one answer for it, but I think it was just a complete game,” he said. “As bad as that all went (during the losing streak), we dictate what’s going to happen. If we go on a good run here, we put together a couple wins, we know how that’s going to work.” Red Wings captain and top goal scorer Dylan Larkin, who has a lower-body injury, has skated some with his teammates but will miss his seventh straight game Sunday, coach Derek Lalonde said. Pittsburgh didn’t help itself Saturday, falling 7-4 to one of the top teams in the East, the New York Rangers, to fall seven points behind Detroit in the wild-card race. The Penguins got three points earlier in the week with an overtime loss against Ottawa and a win over San Jose to find, and spirits were high, optimism renewed. They tried to maintain that attitude after Saturday’s loss. “It’s frustrating not winning; we want to win,” Pittsburgh forward Drew O’Connor said. “Obviously, we knew this was a big one, and we came up a little short. “But we’ll try to bounce back for (Sunday). We’ve got another big game we’ve got to get ready for.” One bright spot for the Penguins is a new-found offense. After collecting just two goals in four games, including two shutout losses, they broke out with a 6-3 win Thursday against San Jose with goals from six different players, then got the four-spot against the Rangers, again with different players scoring each goal. “When you’re fighting for points down the stretch like this, whether you win or lose, you have to turn the page quickly and get going,” Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang said.

–Field Level Media

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