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The matchup of the year: Detroit vs. Pittsburgh

Updated: Apr 17

Image Credits: Joe Sargent NHL

There are no secrets that this game is a big one for both teams, as they battle for one last playoff spot. However, there is much more at stake, because in my opinion, the teams are battling to see who will or won't be let go at the end of the season. Both teams suffered immensely last season, as the Red Wings had a good year until a series of losing streaks set them beck many points of a playoff spot. Pittsburgh wasn't much better, with inconsistent play costing them a 17th straight appearance in the playoffs, and accelerating the rebuild talks.

But both of these teams also began this year with much promise, as Pittsburgh brought in Kyle Dubas and he turned out the whole roster. Detroit signed a number of solid free agents, such as J.T. Compher from Colorado, and bringing in Jeff Petry from Montreal appeared to help. However, the Atlantic Division proved to be stronger than anyone thought, and Detroit now sees themselves on the outside this late in the year. Pittsburgh has also mightily struggled the whole year, and it was never more evident than when Dubas traded Jake Guentzel to the Hurricanes for a package that included Michael Bunting and a 1st round pick in a move that made it look like they were giving up on the year. But Crosby has picked the team up again, as he has done so over and over again, and he is playing like it's his last shot.

There are also off-ice factors that play into today's game as well. For example, Steve Yzerman has been given 5 years now to try to even get the Red Wings to the playoffs, and hasn't delivered yet. There is also pressure on Derek Lalonde to get this team over the hump, and there are a lot of great coaches to pick from if the Red Wings aren't satisfied with his work. So this may be a game for the playoffs, but the teams are also playing to save the asses of management.

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