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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 21st (All times Eastern)

Calgary Flames (13-16-6) at Pittsburgh Penguins (26-10-1), 1 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins will try to push their season-best winning streak to seven games when they host the Calgary Flames in Saturday's matinee clash at CONSOL Energy Center.

Pittsburgh has won six in a row and 11 of its last 12 games to open a big lead atop the Metropolitan Division. With 53 points, the Penguins are 12 points ahead of Washington for the division's top spot and Pittsburgh also is five points in front of Boston for the Eastern Conference lead.

Despite battling a rash of injuries, the Pens posted their two most recent wins on back-to-back nights, beating the New York Rangers on the road in a 4-3 shootout on Wednesday before downing the visiting Minnesota Wild by a 5-2 score on Thursday.

The decisive victory over the Wild was the ninth straight win on home ice for the Pens, who are off to a stellar 16-3-0 mark as the host this season.

If history is any indication, Pittsburgh has a good chance to make it 10 straight home wins this afternoon. The Pens are 12-1-0 with two ties in their last 15 home games against the Flames, and Calgary has lost eight of 10 overall in this series.

Pittsburgh is currently dealing with injuries to star forward Evgeni Malkin and defensemen Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi. With their top-four blueliners out of the lineup on Thursday, rookie defenseman Olli Maatta took charge in the win over Minnesota.

Maatta scored a key short-handed goal on a penalty shot and collected one assist, helping the Penguins post a 5-2 decision over the Wild. A first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2012 draft, the 19-year-old Maatta has three goals and eight assists in 37 games this season. The Finnish prospect has done most of his damage recently, notching seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) over his last 10 outings.

Maatta became only the second defenseman in Penguins history to score on a penalty shot after he was hooked on a breakaway by Minnesota's Jonas Brodin at 7:54 of the third period. He came in wide from the right side and snapped a wrister that trickled across the goal line to give Pittsburgh a 5-2 lead.

"I've tried that move in practice a few times. It's the only move I have," Maatta said. "I thought (Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom) got it at first. Then I saw it go in so I was pretty excited."

Chris Kunitz had two goals for the Penguins, while Jeff Zatkoff made 24 saves for the win.

Malkin is questionable for today's game, while Letang, Martin, Orpik and Scuderi are out.

While Pittsburgh aims for its 10th straight home win on Saturday, the Flames will try to halt a three-game road slide. Calgary began a five-game road trip with last Saturday's overtime win in Buffalo, but Bob Hartley's club has gone 0-1-2 since.

The Flames played Thursday evening in Detroit and was dealt a 3-2 overtime loss by the Red Wings, who won after Daniel Alfredsson scored his second goal of the game just 63 seconds into the extra session. Detroit got a power play when Calgary defenseman TJ Brodie was whistled for hooking with 42 seconds left in regulation. On the ensuing power play, Pavel Datsyuk fed Alfredsson for a one-timer in the slot and the veteran ripped the shot past Karri Ramo.

Mikael Backlund and Mark Giordano both scored for Calgary. Ramo stopped 35 shots in defeat.

After closing its road trip on Saturday, Calgary will play its next five games at the Saddledome, beginning with Monday's game against St. Louis. The Flames are 7-9-3 as the guest this season and 6-7-3 at home.

12/21 10:53:58 ET

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Final
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1:05pm Today
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3:30pm Today
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6:00pm Tonight
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6:00pm Tonight
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6:00pm Tonight
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6:30pm Tonight
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8:00pm Tonight
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MORE 87
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LMU 49
 
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PRIN 80
 
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NEV 62
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SCST 57
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BEL 88
TENST 62
 
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UF 66
TENN 49
Final
ALAST 49
TXSOU 58
 
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SOUTH 71
ALCOR 63
 
Final
JST 73
MVSU 49
 
Final
SEMIZ 89
PEAY 65
 
Final
TOL 70
BST 59
 
Final
KSU 65
BUF 71
 
Final
LBSU 70
CSFU 47
 
Final
MARS 79
FATL 63
Final
STLU 50
GMAS 78
Final
DAVID 77
GWU 66
Final
CLMB 70
HARV 80
 
Final
LAM 79
INCWORD 66
 
Final
YOUNG 74
UWMIL 82
 
Final
ELON 74
UNCW 55
 
Final
ILL 86
NW 60
Final
YALE 55
PENN 50
 
Final
STJOE 57
RICH 63
Final
UNF 86
STET 71
 
Final
HART 59
USB 74
 
Final
DUKE 73
SYR 54
Final
EKENT 70
TENT 67
 
Final
LATU 76
TXSA 66
Final
NKENTUCKY 84
USCU 65
 
Final
MAST 84
WILL 64
 
Final
UMKC 70
GRCN 65
 
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NO 75
ABCHRIST 55
 
Final
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HOW 67
HAMP 68
 
Final
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PVU 75
 
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SDST 46
BSU 56
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NILL 73
CMICH 55
 
Final
RICE 76
CHAR 77
Final
ORU 60
DEN 57
 
Final
WKENT 77
FIU 61
8:00pm Saturday
TXPA 0
NMST 0
 
Final
COC 56
NE 65
 
Final
SCU 71
GAELS 70
 
Final
HOUB 87
STEPH 102
 
Final
SMISS 63
UTEP 60
Final
MEM 72
TULSA 74
Final
UNLV 69
WYO 57
Final
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Final
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AUB 55
Final
LALAF 68
GSOUT 58
 
Final
ARKPB 66
GRAM 57
 
Final
TAMCC 61
SHSU 59
 
Final
UTAH 57
ARZ 63
Final
NCOL 76
NARZ 74
 
Final
GONZ 70
BYU 73
Final
WEBER 61
IDST 57
 
Final
FRES 59
NMU 55
Final
USF 65
PAC 55
 
Final
CPSL 56
UCD 66
 
Final
PORST 60
SACST 73
 
Final
SEAT 53
CALST 43
 
Final
CSNO 83
UCR 76
 
Final
USC 70
WASH 55
Final
UCSB 54
UCI 51
 
2:00pm Today
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2:00pm Today
PETE
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2:00pm Today
RIDE
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2:00pm Today
MAN
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2:00pm Today
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3:00pm Today
CAL
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3:00pm Today
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3:30pm Today
PROV
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4:00pm Today
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4:30pm Today
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7:00pm Tonight
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7:30pm Tonight
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8:30pm Tonight
COL
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9:30pm Tonight
UCLA
WASU
 
Final
FLA 5
BUF 3
Final
NAS 3
DET 4
Final
NYI 3
CAR 5
Final
CLB 0
NJD 2
Final
BOS 4
ARI 1
Final
MON 4
TOR 0
Final
PHI 4
NYR 2
Final
COL 1
MIN 3
Final
SJS 2
OTT 4
4:00pm Today
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5:00pm Tonight
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9:30pm Tonight
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