Detroit Red Wings defeat Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1
For the second consecutive game the Detroit Red Wings found themselves trailing early. And for the second consecutive game their opponents failed to get past Jimmy Howard while the Wings offense racked up the goals.
The Wings scored four unanswered goals in the final two periods to top the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Tuesday night for the club’s third straight victory.
“It was a tight game, especially in the first,” said Danny Cleary. “Malkin had a lot of good chances. We got that first one, that was key, and Pav made a great play on the second one. It was a good road game for us. I thought we played OK in the first, not great in the second, and good in the third.”
Pavel Datsyuk scored a goal and added an assist and Jimmy Howard made 25 saves in his league-leading 18th victory of the season.
Johan Franzen added a goal, his team-leading 14th goal of the season, and Cleary added two third period insurance goals, including an empty-netter.
Datsyuk, who struggled to start the season, has regained his swagger and has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) over his last 13 games.
“I thought he was dominant down the stretch in the game,” coach Mike Babcock said. “He turned his game up. That’s what he tends to do in the bigger moments.”
Datsyuk, who put the moves on Fleury for that second period goal, needs no introduction from his teammates.
“Pavel is just so good,” Howard said. “The way he rolls his wrists over, you can never tell – that’s one thing that’s so hard about the backhand for a goalie, because the forward can disguise the shot. When it’s on the backhand, the curve is going the other way, so you have a hard time reading where it’s going to go.”
The Wings faced a Penguins team that was battered with injuries. The most notable absent being Sidney Crosby, who after missing 21 games and returning Nov. 21 is now out indefinitely.
“Even without Sid and a few of their guys,” Babcock said, “they are very deep and they’re well-coached, so it’s fun to play against them.”
The Wings and Penguins have developed quite the rivalry since their back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals meetings in 2008 and 2009, with each team winning the Cup. So it always feels good to get a win over the Penguins.
GAME BROWSER: DET 4, PIT 1
Most Valuable Wing: Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist in the 4-1 win. He has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) over his last 13 games.
DET: P. Datsyuk (16:01 – 2nd) , J. Franzen (PPG, 05:15 – 3rd) , D. Cleary (15:36 – 3rd) , D. Cleary (EN, 19:54 – 3rd
PIT: E. Malkin (19:55 – 1st)
DET: J. Howard (W)
PIT: M. Fleury (L)
The Good: After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, the Wings battled back to score four unanswered goals in the combined final two periods.
Key Stats: 1st –Win by the Wings in Pittsburgh in the past three seasons.
18- Wins by Jimmy Howard, a league best.
4- Unanswered goals by the Wings.
Next Up: The Red Wings travel to Nashville to take on the Predators on Thursday at 8 PM.