Pittsburgh 2 – Detroit 1
The Pittsburgh Penguins out shot the Detroit Red Wings 47-24 but needed overtime plus a shootout to knock off the Red Wings 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Mellon Arena.
Sidney Crosby (34) scored the Penguins lone goal in regulation and did so again in the shootout, leading Pittsburgh to their 7th shootout win of the season. Evgeni Malkin also added a shootout goal and Marc Andre Fleury (26-15-1) improved to 5-0 in shootouts this season.
Pittsburgh controlled the game for the first 40 minutes and much of the third, out shooting the Red Wings 29-11 through two periods. In a rematch of the past two Stanley Cup Finals, the Red Wings didn’t have that look of the dominating team Pittsburgh has been so use to seeing.
Detroit got a phenomenal performance from goaltender Jimmy Howard, who made 46 saves in the loss, however, Detroit was very fortunate to get a point. They had trouble slowing down Pittsburgh’s transition game and in the defensive zone, Pittsburgh did an excellent job of keeping the Red Wings to the outside. The Penguins had 13 blocked shots in the game.
Pittsburgh came up big on the penalty kill going 5-for-5 and held the Red Wings off the scoreboard on a Red Wings 4 on 3 advantage late in overtime after Sergei Gonchar was called for hooking during Valtteri Filppula’s failed breakaway chance.
Despite being badly out shot, the Red Wings still rely on their puck possession game. Pittsburgh struggled in the face-off circle. Jordan Staal was 3-for-17, while Sidney Crosby was 10-for-22.
Head coach Dan Bylsma altered his lines, playing Evgeni Malkin with Jordan Staal and Pascal Dupuis. Ruslan Fedotenko moved up to the first line alongside Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin.
Recent callup Mark Letestu centered Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy. Letestu played well in 9:54, showing good speed and creating some offensive chances early in the game. Letestu was also 3-for-5 on draws.
Nick Johnson appeared in his 5th straight game but saw limited action on the 4th line, after playing with Evgeni Malkin for the previous four games.
Pittsburgh returns to action tomorrow night at home against the Buffalo Sabres.
Much of the talk today has been about the Red Wings possibly missing the playoffs. On paper they are clearly not the team they were in 2008 or 2009 but an issue with Detroit right now is that their franchise players are not playing at the level many are accustomed of seeing.
The Red Wings need to add offense at the trade deadline and are very much in the mix for Hurricanes forward Ray Whitney. The Hurricanes had a scout in attendance today.
Meanwhile, A lot of chatter from scouts is that Nicklas Lidstrom has lot a step, and although that was evident today, he is still a very good defenseman in this league.
What is also interesting, is that the same kind of talk to a lesser extent is going around from league evaluators about Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar who is a minus-6 on the season.
*Chris Kunitz, Martin Skoula and Max Talbot were scratched for Pittsburgh. Also out of the lineup was Eric Godard (groin) who was placed on injured reserve this week.
Evgeni Malkin has 12 points in his last 6 games, after assisting on Sidney Crosby’s second period tally. Prior to Crosby’s goal, Rico Fata was the last Penguin to score a regular season goal at home against the Detroit Red Wings (October 18, 2003).
Pittsburgh has now won three straight games against Detroit, dating back to last years playoffs.