The Central Division-leading Red Wings (43-21-8) are in good position to make the playoffs for the 20th straight season, but where they finish in the Western Conference is still very much in question. They own a two-point lead over third-place San Jose and could potentially fall out of first in the division with three games remaining against Chicago.
Detroit's bid for the No. 2 seed took a bit of a hit Saturday with a 3-1 loss to Nashville. The Red Wings were without Franzen (mid-body injury), the team leader with 27 goals, and Datsyuk (lower-body injury), who has 22 goals and is second on Detroit with 57 points. The two were instrumental to the Red Wings' winning streak with Datsyuk tallying two goals and three assists and Franzen recording four assists.
Neither injury is considered serious, however, and both players are listed as day-to-day.
Datsyuk missed Detroit's first game against the Penguins with a broken hand, while Franzen had a goal in the 4-1 loss in Pittsburgh on Jan. 18, the third meeting between these teams since facing each other in a second consecutive Stanley Cup finals in 2009.
The Red Wings would prefer to have their best players on the ice as they face several tough teams during a five-game homestand.
After playing the Penguins, Detroit hosts NHL-best Vancouver on Wednesday, playoff-hopeful Toronto on Saturday and Chicago next Monday. The Red Wings play seven of their final 10 games at Joe Louis Arena, where they've won two in a row following a three-game skid.
"We have to play better at home," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We have five games at home in a row and we have to take advantage of that."
Pittsburgh (41-23-8) is also embarking on a difficult stretch, with trips to Detroit and East-leading Philadelphia on Thursday.
The Penguins missed a chance to move within four points of the Flyers with Sunday's 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers, just their second defeat in six games.
The game took a turn when Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke got a five-minute elbowing penalty and ejection 4:36 into the third period and defenseman Matt Niskanen was given four minutes for a high-sticking penalty three minutes later. After Chris Kunitz scored a short-handed goal to put the Penguins ahead 2-1, the Rangers tied the game with eight seconds remaining in the 5-on-3 advantage and took the lead 11 seconds later.
Cooke has been suspended three times over the past three seasons for illegal hits, and will likely receive another ban for his latest infraction.
"It's what looks to be a contact right to the head on the play, so the league will look at that and treat it as such," coach Dan Bylsma said.
Despite Cooke's scary hit and the Penguins surrendering four unanswered third-period goals, Kunitz and Jordan Staal both continued their strong play.
Kunitz has three goals and three assists in his last three games, and Staal has scored in each of his last three. Each player had a goal against Detroit in January.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.