NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red Wings vs. Penguins (December 28)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red Wings vs. Penguins (December 28) article feature image

Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  • The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hit the ice on Wednesday night for an NHL battle.
  • The Penguins are coming off of a brutal loss to the Islanders and are playing on the second night of a back-to-back as big favorites.
  • Check out Jonny Lazarus' full betting preview and pick for Red Wings vs. Penguins below.

Red Wings vs. Penguins Odds

Red Wings Odds+170
Penguins Odds-210
Over/Under6.5 (+100 / -120)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Penguins might be a little rusty from Christmas break, losing to the Islanders by a score of 5-1 last night and getting completely dominated on Long Island.

This wasn't exactly the performance I expected from the Penguins since they were very hot going into the break, winning eight of their previous 10 games.

The Red Wings, however, were not looking very good going into the break, as they are 1-4-2 in their last seven games. So, having a couple of days off might be the regroup they needed.

The Penguins are playing the latter half of a back-to-back. Tristan Jarry was their starter in goal last night, so there's a strong chance Casey DeSmith gets the nod for Pittsburgh in this one.

As for Detroit, Ville Husso is the expected starter and he has been phenomenal for the Red Wings this season.

This might not be an exciting, offense-heavy game.

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Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings haven't been producing on the offensive end at a very consistent rate this season.

They have a solid roster and some talented forwards who can fill the net, but they have the 22nd-ranked offense and power play unit. They're averaging 3.03 goals per game, and their man-advantage unit is scoring at a 19.8% rate.

Husso has been excellent in his first season with the team, skating to a 12-6-5 record with a .912 save percentage, 2.72 goals against average and +4.3 goals saved above expected.

He has also been pretty solid on the road thus far, going 4-1-3 and boasting a .911 save percentage as the visitor.

Detroit has been underperforming its underlying metrics, but it's capable of being a very strong hockey team. It owns a 2.93 xGA/60, so it isn't very easy for its opponents to score.

The Red Wings do an excellent job of limiting their opponents' high-danger scoring chances, and having the rest advantage over the Penguins could be very beneficial for them tonight.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins have been one of the more streaky teams in the league this season. When they're hot, they seem unstoppable. But when they're cold, things go bad very quickly.

They suffered a brutal loss last night, but they have to let it go and move on to this game against Detroit. That being said, it will be interesting to see if Jarry gets the start on back-to-back nights.

Despite Jarry's performance last night, the Penguins' goaltending has been a strength of theirs this season. Jarry is skating to a 15-3-4 record with a .920 save percentage and a 2.67 goals-against average. While DeSmith's record of 4-6-1 isn't as strong, he boasts a .914 save percentage along with a 2.83 goals-against average.

The Pens have a ton of offensively gifted players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel, but they're a much better defensive team than people might give them credit for.

They allow just 2.88 goals against per game, and they have the second-best penalty-killing unit in the league, which is skating to an 84.8% success rating.

Red Wings vs. Penguins Pick

The Penguins got absolutely worked last night, and their rust from a couple of days off showed. The Red Wings might also have their fair share of rust in this game since it will be their first time playing in seven days.

This matchup should be dictated by the goaltending, and one thing both of these teams have in common is strong netminders. The under has gone 5-1 in the Red Wings' last six road games and 5-1-2 in the Penguins' last eight games overall.

Pittsburgh should be focused on tightening up defensively after being outshot, 42-21, and allowing five goals last night. Detroit is also going to have to focus on shutting down Crosby, Malkin and Guentzel.

I expect a very defensively focused battle, and I really like the under in this matchup.

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