The Red Wings publicly lamented the chance to play Pittsburgh at
full strength in the renewal of a heated rivalry that saw the teams
split a pair of thrilling Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and 2009.
They weren't complaining, however, after spending much of the
night trying to keep Malkin in check. He gave the Penguins a 1-0
lead with a breathless end-to-end rush to just before the end of
the first period and nearly made it 2-0 early in the second when
his shot clanged off the post and momentarily stopped on the goal
line before being swept out of danger.
The Red Wings took advantage of the reprieve, with Datsyuk
evening the game at 1 in the second period before Detroit poured it
on the third, scoring three times in the game's final 15 minutes.
Johan Franzen scored his team-leading 14th goal to give Detroit
the lead before Danny Cleary added a pair of late insurance scores
as the Red Wings handed the Penguins their first regulation loss to
a Western Conference team this season.
"It was a good road game for us," Cleary said. "I thought we
played OK in the first, not great in the second, good in the
Pittsburgh fell to 1-2-0 in the three games since Crosby was
sidelined with a recurrence of concussion-like symptoms. The two
losses have come to the league's elite. Philadelphia handled the
Penguins for long stretches in a 3-2 win last Thursday, and the Red
Wings played lights out in the third.
"There were lots of loose pucks right around the cage,"
Pittsburgh's Matt Niskanen said. "We just weren't able to
capitalize. I thought our guys went to the net hard, but they
managed to keep them out of the net."
Howard was stellar when he needed to be in winning his
league-leading 18th game. Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21
shots while failing to win the 200th game of his career.
Pittsburgh fell to 12-8-3 when Crosby doesn't play, a routine
that's become all too common over the past year. He missed 10
months after taking a shot to the head in consecutive games last
January before returning on Nov. 21.
He scored twice and added 10 assists in eight games, but hasn't
played since a 3-1 loss to Boston last week and said Monday he's
The Penguins clearly need him against the league's better teams.
The Flyers dictated play last week and Pittsburgh couldn't respond
after the Red Wings got going in the third period.
"For the first 10 minutes in the second period I felt they
competed harder than we did and won more battles and, to me, were
taking the game a little bit," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
"Then I thought we really dug in at that point and played well for
the last 30 minutes."
In addition to Crosby, Bartuzzo and Steve MacIntyre were
also scratched by the Penguins. ... Mike Commodore and Cory Emmerton were scratched by the Red Wings. ... The Penguins travel
to Ottawa on Friday while Detroit plays in Nashville on Thursday.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: CONSOL Energy Center Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Referees: Dan O'Rourke, Frederick L'Ecuyer Linesmen: Brian Mach, Pierre Champoux
Attendance: 18,592 (102.8% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Evgeni Malkin (11)
Assists: James Neal, Brooks Orpik
Pavel Datsyuk (9)
Assist: Todd Bertuzzi
Johan Franzen (14)
(Power Play) Assist: Pavel Datsyuk
Daniel Cleary (6)
Assists: Chris Conner, Darren Helm
Daniel Cleary (7)
Assists: Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall