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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, April 9th (All times Eastern)

Detroit Red Wings (38-27-14) at Pittsburgh Penguins (50-24-5), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings can clinch their 23rd straight trip to the playoffs when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for Wednesday's battle at Consol Energy Center.

The Red Wings, who last missed the playoffs in 1990, need to gain just one point from Wednesday's game to qualify for the postseason yet again.

With 90 points, Detroit is five ahead of ninth-seeded Washington and six clear of New Jersey. All three teams have three games left in the regular season, and both the Capitals and Devils are idle on Wednesday. The Red Wings also are a point ahead of Columbus for the first of the Eastern Conference's two wild card playoff spots. The Blue Jackets play Wednesday in Dallas.

The Red Wings have won five of their last six games to solidify their postseason chances. After dropping the opener of a three-game road trip Saturday in Montreal, Detroit bounced back with Tuesday's 4-2 victory in Buffalo.

Darren Helm, David Legwand and Pavel Datsyuk scored third-period goals for the Red Wings in the win over the Sabres. Brendan Smith also tallied for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard backed up his offense with 25 saves.

Detroit head coach Mike Babcock won his 414th game with the franchise, vaulting him over Jack Adams for tops on the all-time list.

"The win tonight is way more important than that," Babcock said.

Detroit improved to 20-15-4 as the visiting team this season after Tuesday's win. The club will host Carolina in its final home game of the regular season on Friday before completing its schedule Sunday in St. Louis.

Pittsburgh is wrapping up the regular season on a three-game homestand that begins tonight. The club already has sealed up the Metropolitan Division title and is locked into the second seed in the East. All that is left for the Penguins is to await the outcome of the other playoff races, which will determine who Pittsburgh hosts in the opening round of the postseason.

The Penguins have won four of their last six games and are coming off Sunday's 3-2 shootout win in Colorado. Pittsburgh outlasted the Avalanche despite playing without captain Sidney Crosby, fellow forward Chris Kunitz and defensemen Olli Maatta and Brooks Orpik due to various injuries.

Pittsburgh could get some of those players back tonight, and the club also will see defenseman Kris Letang make his return to the lineup after suffering a stroke in January.

Letang has missed 26 games since last playing on Jan. 27 against Buffalo. The 26-year-old blueliner had been cleared by doctors to resume all physical activities in late March and Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero said it was up to Letang when he wanted to come back.

"Kris was cleared by doctors and it was his choice on when to return," Shero said. "He's been bugging me for a while to play"

Letang had battled injuries this season before suffering the stroke in January, but still has managed to post 10 goals and eight assists in just 34 games this season. He went on blood thinners following the stroke, but was taken off them when he returned to practice last month.

Meanwhile, Crosby, Kunitz, Maatta and Orpik all practiced on Tuesday and are questionable for Wednesday's game. Even if all four of those players return tonight, Pittsburgh will still be without several injured players, including forward Evgeni Malkin.

Brandon Sutter supplied both regulation goals for the Penguins in Sunday's win, giving him 13 tallies on the season. Jussi Jokinen netted the lone shootout goal in the second round, as the Penguins picked up the win at Pepsi Center.

Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 39 saves to earn the victory.

The Pens and Red Wings have split a pair of meetings in 2013-14, but Wednesday's matchup marks the first encounter this season in Pittsburgh. Detroit has fared well recently in the Steel City, going 3-1-1 in the last five encounters at Consol Energy Center.

Pittsburgh is 27-9-2 as the host this season.

04/09 10:59:36 ET

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  • PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open

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  • Big 10: Michigan at Michigan State

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 2
STL 3
12:00pm Today
GT
NCSU
 
4:00pm Today
LOU
UNC
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
DUKE
 
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
NCCU
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
 
Final
PHI 103
MIN 94
Final
BOS 87
HOU 93
Final
ATL 105
POR 99
Final
CLE 101
SAC 90
Final
BRK 122
TOR 127
Final
MIA 72
DAL 93
Final
NOP 108
LAC 103
Final
UTA 110
GSW 100
4th
PHO 87
CHI 79
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
SAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
HOU
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
PHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
 
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
POR
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
 
9:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
PHO
 
Final
PRIN 72
HARV 75
 
Final
CORN 57
BRO 49
 
Final
PENN 58
DART 51
 
Final
NIAG 61
MAR 65
 
Final
CAN 63
QUIN 57
 
Final
MAN 87
SIENA 79
 
Final
WILL 63
IUPUI 59
 
Final
FAIR 59
MON 60
 
Final
ARST 67
OREG 68
Final
CLMB 59
YALE 63
 
Final
BUF 80
KSU 55
 
Final
ARZ 57
ORST 34
12:00pm Today
TENN
AUB
 
12:00pm Today
CLEM
BC
 
12:00pm Today
STJOE
DAVID
 
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GT
NCSU
 
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PITT
ND
 
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STJ
PROV
 
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UNH
USB
 
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WVU
TTU
 
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TEMPL
TULA
 
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WMICH
 
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IOWA
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SHU
XAV
 
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UF
ARK
 
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STET
LIP
 
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ILL
PSU
 
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TULSA
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INDST
BRAD
 
2:00pm Today
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GTDNS
 
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UGST
ARKST
 
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LEH
BU
 
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MARQ
BUT
 
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DEL
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CREI
GEOR
 
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CLST
UWGB
 
2:00pm Today
NEOM
MAST
 
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LOYC
ILLST
 
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KU
KYST
 
2:00pm Today
JVU
KNST
 
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MSST
LSU
 
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SHU
MNTER
 
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VCU
RICH
 
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ISU
TCU
 
2:00pm Today
BING
MLOWELL
 
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HART
VERM
 
2:00pm Today
DEP
VILL
 
2:00pm Today
WAKE
VT
 
3:00pm Today
FAM
COOK
 
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NDAK
IDST
 
3:00pm Today
ARMY
GHND
 
3:00pm Today
BEL
TENT
 
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TXSA
UAB
 
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ILLCH
VALPO
 
3:05pm Today
DRAK
EVAN
 
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IND
RUTG
 
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UMO
BST
 
4:00pm Today
RMU
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WAGN
CCST
 
4:00pm Today
GWEBB
CCAR
 
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MDES
COPST
 
4:00pm Today
RFLSH
FD
 
4:00pm Today
RIU
GWU
 
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SCAR
UGA
 
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PAC
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STLU
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HOW
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DREX
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LOU
UNC
 
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MIZZ
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JMU
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RAD
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UNCA
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MORE
EKENT
 
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NICST
INCWORD
 
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CMICH
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TEXAM
VANDY
 
5:00pm Tonight
UWMIL
DET
 
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LAMON
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UNCG
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IDAHO
 
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GRAM
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PRIN
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HAMP
 
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NEV
 
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SMISS
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YALE
 
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ABCHRIST
 
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AKR
 
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KENT
ALA
 
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CLMB
BRO
 
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LIB
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CHAR
FIU
 
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ODU
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HAW
 
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LAS
 
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LONG
 
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ETST
NCCU
 
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MCNST
NO
 
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FLGC
NKENTUCKY
 
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PETE
 
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STEPH
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UNF
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7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
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UCR
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SELA
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UNT
RICE
 
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SDU
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NMU
SJST
 
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
SEMIZ
 
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NILL
TOL
 
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HOF
TOWS
 
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SMU
UCF
 
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MURST
TENNM
 
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SDST
UTST
 
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MIZST
SILL
 
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TXARL
TROY
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALAST
 
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TENST
JVST
 
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WASU
STAN
 
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GRCN
CHIST
 
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UTEP
MTST
 
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SUTAH
NARZ
 
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BYU
SCU
 
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NMST
TXPA
 
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NCOL
WEBER
 
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UNLV
AFA
 
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UCD
CPSL
 
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GONZ
MEM
 
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CALST
SEAT
 
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UCI
UCSB
 
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SACST
MONT
 
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PORST
MNTST
 
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UCLA
COL
 
10:30pm Tonight
WLVRN
UMKC
 
Final
NJD 1
PIT 2
Final
CAR 2
STL 3
Final
COL 3
NAS 0
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
 
1:00pm Today
MON
WAS
 
2:00pm Today
DET
NYI
 
3:00pm Today
OTT
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
WIN
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
LOS
 
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PHI
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
CLB
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CHI