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Wings beat Pens in Stanley Cup rematch

by Brian Compton
The last time the Pittsburgh Penguins were in Joe Louis Arena, Sidney Crosby became the youngest captain in NHL history to hoist the Stanley Cup.

But on Monday night, revenge wasn't on the minds of the Detroit Red Wings. Instead, they were simply focused on picking up another two points in the standings and distancing themselves from the teams below them in the Western Conference playoff race.

Mission accomplished.

Henrik Zetterberg had two goals and an assist and Jimmy Howard made 26 saves as the Wings pulled four points ahead of the Calgary Flames with a 3-1 victory. Detroit is 5-0-1 in its last six games as it attempts to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 19th consecutive season. Both the Red Wings and Flames have 10 games remaining.

''This is the best run we've been on all year,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ''We're desperate to try to get into the playoffs. We have proud players who have done a lot of winning over a long period of time.

''We'd all like to get into the tournament and we think we have a shot if we get in.''

During the final seconds, Crosby was cross-checking Zetterberg in front of Howard and that led to some punches, pushing and shoving in a scrum behind the net. Looking to protect his teammate, Howard immediately got involved and grabbed the Pens' captain.

"He was taking a couple of jabs there at 'Z,'" Howard said. "I just thought I'd help him out there a little bit."

"I don't think that's where he should be," Crosby said of Howard. "I don't know what he was doing over there."

Pascal Dupuis scored the lone goal for Pittsburgh, which played without Evgeni Malkin for the third time in the last four games due to an injured right foot. The Penguins remained two points ahead of the idle New Jersey Devils in the Atlantic Division, although the Devils have two games in hand.

"I think our level, as far as desperation, needs to go up," Pens coach Dan Bylsma said.

Valtteri Filppula broke a scoreless tie at 19:03 of the opening period. With the teams at even strength, Filppula took a cross-ice feed from Todd Bertuzzi and beat Marc-Andre Fleury (30 saves) for his ninth goal of the season.

Zetterberg made it 2-0 at 7:38 of the second period, when he poked his own rebound past Fleury for his 21st goal of the season. The 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy winner has six points in his last three games.

"It was like a playoff game," Zetterberg said.

Dupuis cut the deficit in half with 3:06 left in the second after Chris Kunitz made a nice play against Brian Rafalski to seize control of the puck, but Zetterberg restored Detroit's two-goal lead just 80 seconds into the third.

Crosby had only three shots on goal and was a minus-2 in just over 20 minutes of ice time. His best scoring chance came in the first minute of the game, but his wrist shot from the top of the left circle was gloved by Howard, who earned his 29th win of the season. His club has won eight of its 11 games since the Olympic break.

"I'm having the time of my life," said Howard, who has made 19 straight starts for the Red Wings. "I'm having a lot of fun and I'm just taking every single game in stride."

As for revenge for the 2009 Stanley Cup Final? Well, perhaps the Wings can seek that in June.

"Hopefully that will happen," Zetterberg said.

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.

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