The Penguins and Red Wings played one of the most spirited games of the season as old rivalries flared up and bad blood boiled.
It was a physical affair, and a tale of two games with each team scoring four straight goals at different junctures. But in the end James Neal scored in the shootout to lift the Penguins to a hard fought 5-4 victory.
The Red Wings were strong early, but as soon as the Penguins established their speed and puck pursuit the momentum avalanched in Pittsburgh’s favor. The Penguins used their extended offensive zone time to ring up four goals and claimed a 4-0 lead 13:16 into the second period.
Detroit never quit and started to mount a comeback late in the second with a tally with 2:19 remaining. A combination of bad bounces, some tired Penguins legs from playing on back-to-back nights, and an opportunistic power play helped the Red Wings score three goals in the third period to even the game at 4-4.
The final half of the third period and overtime was a back-and-forth battle, but neither team could convert that fifth goal. The contest went into a shootout. The first five shooters were denied. Neal was the last scheduled shooter and he had the extra point in the standings on his blade. He snapped a shot over the shoulder of goalie Joey MacDonald to add that point to the column next to Pittsburgh.
The Penguins had a lot of success using their speed to beat the Red Wings on rush plays, for loose pucks and gaining angles in the offensive zone. No player did a better job of that for Pittsburgh than Pascal Dupuis.
Dupuis finished the night with two goals, three points, a plus-3, five shots and 17:58 minutes of ice time.
Dupuis carried the puck from behind the net and snapped a hard backhander into the goal from a tough angle for the Penguins’ first goal of the game.
He gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead in the second while killing a penalty. Dupuis’ fleet footwork helped turn a turnover into a two-on-one rush for the Penguins. At the side of the net, Dupuis lost control of the puck. But he regained it from behind the net and, with some quick handwork, pulled it above the goal line and slipped it into the net before the goaltender could recover for the shorthanded score.
The game was tied at 4-4 in the final three minutes of regulation. Pittsburgh had a great opportunity as the Red Wings took a penalty. However, the best scoring chance was in favor of the Red Wings.
Darren Helm carried the puck in on the Pittsburgh goal in a two-on-one rush with Justin Abdelkader. In a give-and-go sequence Helm got the puck back with a gaping wide-open net to shoot at.
Penguins goalie Brent Johnson did a split, reaching back with his pad and arm and managed to keep the puck out of the net. A goal for the Red Wings in that instance means the Penguins likely get no points out of this game. But Johnson’s save helped set the stage for the team earn a very big two points.
(AP) - James Neal scored the only goal in the shootout, and the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled out a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings after blowing a four-goal lead on Monday night.
Tyler Kennedy put Pittsburgh ahead 4-0 at 13:16 of the second period, ending goalie Jimmy Howard's night. Joey MacDonald stopped all 10 shots he faced before the shootout.
Henrik Zetterberg's goal started Detroit's comeback late in the second, and Mike Modano tied it midway through the third.
Brent Johnson stopped 37 shots for the Penguins.
- With the win in Detroit, Pittsburgh has reached 20 road wins for the fifth consecutive year. Prior to this streak the Penguins had won 20 road games only once in franchise history (23, 1992-93).
- The Penguins have swept the season series from the Red Wings for the first time since the 1998-99 season (excluding one-game season series). Pittsburgh also defeated Detroit 4-1 Jan. 18 at CONSOL Energy Center.
- The last time the Penguins and Red Wings went to overtime at Joe Louis Arena was Nov. 11, 2008. In that contest Jordan Staal recorded a hat trick – with all three goals coming in the third period and the last two in the final minutes of regulation – to tie the game at 6-6. In the overtime period Staal setup Ruslan Fedotenko for the game-winner for a four-point game.
- The Penguins won the previous time these two teams squared off in a shootout. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin tallied shootout scores for Pittsburgh in a 2-1 win Jan. 31, 2010 at Mellon Arena.
- The Penguins completed their 16th set of back-to-back games this season. To date, Pittsburgh is 19-9-4 overall in back-to-backs with an 8-6-2 mark in the first game and 11-3-2 on the second night.
- The Penguins outhit Detroit by a 37-29 mark. Kris Letang and Tyler Kennedy led the way for Pittsburgh with five hits each, followed by four from Matt Niskanen, Ben Lovejoy and Arron Asham.
#1. James Neal
Left Wing - 18
Shootout winning score
#2. Pascal Dupuis
Right Wing - 9
3 points, plus-3
#3. Valtteri Filppula
Center - 51
10 of 15 faceoffs (67%)
Author: Sam Kasan