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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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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DEN
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
FAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
NCCU
 
Final
TOR 118
NYK 108
Final
CLE 105
MEM 91
Final
MIA 100
BOS 84
Final
BRK 110
DET 105
Final
SAC 108
LAL 101
Final
ORL 88
PHI 96
Final
WAS 92
PHO 104
Final
MIN 96
IND 100
Final
OKC 99
NOP 101
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DEN
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
POR
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
ATL
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
SAC
 
2:00pm Today
MEM
BYU
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
Final
NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
Final
STLU 58
VERM 55
 
Final
UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
Final
EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
Final
LIP 69
PEAY 63
 
Final
DEN 46
BRY 48
 
Final
MONT 62
SD 67
 
Final
MTST 65
TENST 47
Final
SAMF 64
LAMON 50
 
Final
SCAR 78
COKR 52
 
Final
HAMP 75
NARZ 66
 
Final
SDU 71
SDCHR 61
 
Final
BC 71
USC 75
Final
NICST 64
TROY 65
 
Final
BRAD 47
UCI 55
 
Final
UGA 65
SHU 47
Final
ALA 60
APP 59
Final
KSU 53
NDST 52
 
Final
WASU 82
SJST 53
Final
UTEP 78
ALCOR 45
 
Final
SEAT 66
SACST 47
 
2:00pm Today
BRAD
ARKLR
 
2:00pm Today
CCST
BRO
 
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NW
ILLCH
 
2:00pm Today
FSU
STET
 
2:30pm Today
GWU
OHIO
 
3:00pm Today
KNST
ELON
 
3:00pm Today
ARKPB
SUTAH
 
4:00pm Today
PSU
DART
 
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COL
DEP
 
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UCI
UWGB
 
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PORT
L
 
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ABCHRIST
SCST
 
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PURD
GWEBB
 
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NKENTUCKY
IDAHO
 
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FORD
MAN
 
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OSU
UMO
 
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MSU
CITA
 
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GSOUT
TRUETT
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMICH
ALAAM
 
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MNTER
BING
 
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WAKE
BUCK
 
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SYR
COL
 
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RMU
DEL
 
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VCU
ETST
 
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FATL
EKENT
 
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GTDNS
FAIR
 
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ECU
FAM
 
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ILLST
MAST
 
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TEMPL
KU
 
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PRIN
LIB
 
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UNH
LIU
 
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BONA
MDES
 
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TENN
MERC
 
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JMU
NORST
 
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ALCOR
NDST
 
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ND
NILL
 
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CLEM
OU
 
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UCF
SELA
 
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NAVY
TOWS
 
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BUT
TENNM
 
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VT
VMI
 
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ODU
WMARY
 
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IND
NO
 
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UCONN
CLMB
 
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STJ
LBSU
 
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WVU
WOFF
 
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MCNST
CMICH
 
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COLST
CSOU
 
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SIUE
CHIST
 
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MICH
COPST
 
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MINN
FUR
 
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TCU
GRAM
 
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TULSA
INCWORD
 
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TTU
LOYC
 
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JST
NCCU
 
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IOWA
UNF
 
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VANDY
PENN
 
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LAM
RICE
 
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MISS
SEMIZ
 
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BAY
SOUTH
 
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CHAT
UAB
 
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OKLA
WEBER
 
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SILL
MURST
 
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MIZST
ORU
 
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DRAK
SIMPSON
 
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UMKC
TENT
 
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LSU
COC
 
9:00pm Tonight
AFA
JVST
 
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UTEP
KSU
 
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PROV
MIAMI
 
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ARK
UWMIL
 
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MARQ
NDAK
 
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GAELS
NE
 
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NMST
NNM
 
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NCOL
UCD
 
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OREG
UCSB
 
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CAL
WISC
 
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EWASH
LCST
 
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WALLA
 
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NEV
MARS
 
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CSFU
TAMCC
 
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HOU
BSU
 
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WICHS
LMU
 
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WASH
TULA
 
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SDST
UCR
 
Final
DET 1
COL 2
Final
EDM 5
DAL 6
Final
BOS 4
BUF 3
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
Final
CHI 4
TOR 0
Final
WIN 3
PHI 4
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
NAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
OTT
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
PIT
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
ARI
 
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ANA
SJS
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
CAL
 
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
Final
STL 27
NYG 37
Final
OAK 26
BUF 24
Final
DAL 42
IND 7
Final
ARI 6
SEA 35
8:30pm Tonight
CIN
DEN