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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
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
 
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0
 
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
Final
BAL 7
BOS 2
9th
PIT 0
MIL 0
 
Final
TAM 3
CWS 1
 
7th
MIN 2
CLE 7
 
Final
ATL 2
NYM 4
 
Final
HOU 10
SEA 1
Final
MIA 2
WAS 3
 
Final
STL 8
CIN 4
 
6th
SDP 1
SFG 0
 
5th
ANA 3
TEX 0
 
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
 
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
Final
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
Final
ILL 42
TXST 35
 
Final
WASH 45
GASTATE 14
4th
SMISS 21
APPST 14
 
1st
TOL 20
BST 3
 
4th
OHIO 36
IDAHO 24
 
4th
CIN 31
UMO 24
 
Final
MEM 36
MTST 17
 
4th
LSU 16
MSST 34
 
Final
ARK 52
NILL 14
 
4th
ARKST 14
UTST 14
 
4th
SALABAMA 6
GASO 21
 
3rd
WVU 27
OKLA 31
 
4th
VANDY 24
SCAR 27
 
3rd
NEB 24
MIAMI 21
 
3rd
NMST 21
NMU 21
 
3rd
HOU 27
UNLV 7
 
3rd
FSU 3
CLEM 10
 
1st
ARZ 0
CAL 14
 
10:30pm Tonight
BSU
LALAF
10:30pm Tonight
WASU
OREG
10:30pm Tonight
ORST
SDST
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0