DETROIT – David Legwand’s major penalty late in regulation set off one of the most intense five-minutes of the Red Wings season Thursday night.
Legwand, who was acquired from Nashville at the trade deadline, was assessed a five-minute penalty and a 10-minute game misconduct for butt-ending Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin with 3:46 left in the third period of a tied game.
Fortunately for the Red Wings, their penalty killers played amazingly, which helped set up Detroit’s thrilling 5-4 overtime win with four-tenths of a second showing on the clock.
The Penguins were pressing as time dwindled in the third. But one by one, the Wings’ PK stifled Pittsburgh’s loaded power play of Malkin, Sidney Crosby and James Neal.
Luke Glendening blocked a shot by Olli Maatta, then Kyle Quincey prevented Malkin from getting a shot off from the side of the net, and Cory Emmerton blocked an attempt by Matt Niskanen.
For an encore, defenseman Danny DeKeyser went stick on stick with Crosby as the Pens’ captain attempted to cruise in from the slot as time expired, forcing OT.
The Penguins’ power play was 1-for-6 as goalie Jimmy Howard was spectacular in making 39 saves, including 15 on the penalty kill.
“Just believe in what we do,” Wings defenseman Nikas Kronwall said. “We have been doing a decent job earlier in the game and over the course of the year we’ve done some good things on the PK. Howie came up huge for us a few times and we had some guys blocking shots. It was a great team win tonight.”
It’s unclear if Legwand will face further supplemental discipline from the league.
“He took the penalty,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock, referring to Legwand. “The referee made the call. When it happened, to be honest with you, I thought because they had been all over him, I thought that it was weak. But when I watched it on video, he just made the call.”
With the win, the Red Wings now have 77 points, which is three points behind Toronto for fourth-place Atlantic Division.
“I thought we did lots of good things,” Babcock said. “Obviously we did some things that weren't great either. We made some mistakes, they made mistakes, but we stayed with it and found a way to win a game. That was a big win for us. We knew going in that we were going to be under siege at times. I thought our guys battled real hard. We had a huge kill at the end. They got a real good power play. We had a huge kill there and our goaltending was good and we found a way to score enough goals.”
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