Detroit is 15-1-0-1 in its last 17 games and leads St. Louis by seven points in the Central Division. The Red Wings also lead Dallas by one point for first place in the Western Conference and trail the Ottawa Senators by two points in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy, which guarantees home ice throughout the playoffs.
Detroit’s latest win was a 6-2 home triumph over the Senators on Sunday. Despite getting outshot 43-20, Brett Hull recorded his 32nd career hat trick and then stated the importance of home ice advantage, citing his two trips to the Stanley Cup finals with the Dallas Stars.
“The two years I was able to win the Cup, both times there was a seventh game against Colorado and we won them, so home ice is important.”
While Detroit is gunning for its second straight Presidents’ Trophy, Pittsburgh will miss the playoffs for the second straight season.
A 12-game winless skid has left them well out of the playoff race and is Pittsburgh’s longest since going 0-11-1 in 1984-85.
The Penguins have been outscored, 49-16 during the skid, which was extended with a 4-2 home loss to Florida on Sunday.
Detroit is 6-2-1 in its last nine encounters with Pittsburgh. It posted a 7-3 home win on October 25 as Sergei Fedorov recorded a hat trick.