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In-Game Recap: Penguins vs. Red Wings

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT -- The Red Wings need all the points they can get with just eight games left but the Pittsburgh Penguins are always a challenge no matter what time of year it is.

Although the Wings are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers with 85 points, the Flyers have a game in hand and currently hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Penguins have been on a roll, especially lately, winning six of their last seven and 10 of their last 14.

"Obviously Sidney Crosby's one of the best players in the world, has been for a long time," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "But they've got a real complete team, I think their coach has them playing real hard shift by shift. I think Fleury's been real good in net, so they're a real complete team that plays real hard and is real structured. It'll be a great challenge for us."

Crosby is playing in his 700th career game, the sixth player in Penguins history to reach that milestone.

Blashill said Niklas Kronwall, who took a maintenance day Friday and did not skate, is expected to play.

Petr Mrazek will start in goal for the Wings, Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

Mrazek is 1-3-0 with a 4.12 goals-against average and .891 save percentage against the Penguins.

Fleury is 7-6-1 with a 2.99 goals-against average and .904 save percentage against the Wings.

The Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin (upper body) and Olli Maatta (lower body).

The Penguins are unbeaten in their last five against the Wings, going 3-0-2, and are 5-1-2 in the last eight games against the Wings.

Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg has 10 goals and nine assists in 16 games against the Penguins. Brad Richards has nine goals and 34 assists in 46 games against the Penguins.

The Penguins kept Mrazek busy in the early going, getting four shots before the Wings got their first.

Mrazek stopped Bryan Rust's backhand shot from the slot at 1:16, then Fleury saved Gustav Nyquist's shot at the other end.

At 4:09 Justin Abdelkader hit Brian Doumoulin behind the Pittsburgh net and Doumoulin was cut on the lip and had to leave for repairs but quickly returned.

The Wings got the all-important first goal at 8:24 when Brad Richards spotted a streaking Andreas Athanasiou heading towards the offensive zone.

Athanasiou beat Fleury stick-side for his seventh goal of the season. Nyquist got the second assist.

The Wings got the first power play when Carl Hagelin, the former Michigan player, hooked Zetterberg at 15:52 but they were unable to capitalize.

Mrazek had to make two good stops at 18:32 on Justin Schultz in front and Nick Bonino on the right side, looking for the rebound.


1. DET, Andreas Athanasiou (7), Brad Richards, Jonathan Ericsson, 8:24.

1. PIT, minor, Patric Hornqvist, slashing, 8:39. 2. DET, minor, Danny DeKeyser, roughing, 8:39. 3. PIT, minor, Carl Hagelin, hooking, 15:52.

SHOTS: Detroit 9, Pittsburgh 12.

It was not the start to the period that the Wings were looking for.

Mrazek stopped Kris Letang's shot from the point but Chris Kunitz got the rebound to go off of Mrazek's leg into the net 20 seconds into the frame.

Crosby got the second assist.

Things continued to go downhill as Pavel Datsyuk ended up in the box for hooking Crosby at 3:02.

Letang's shot from the right circle beat Mraze through the five-hole at 4:08. Phil Kessel and Trevor Daley assisted.

In 14 games against the Wings, Letang has three goals and seven assists.

At 11:58, Hagelin spun around and shot from the right circle, beating Mrazek for a 3-1 Penguins lead.

Kessel and Bonino got the assists.

Kessel is the fourth player from the 2006 draft to register 300 career assists, joining Chicago's Jonathan Toews, Philadelphia's Claude Giroux and Washington's Nicklas Backstrom.

The Wings managed to kill off Abdelkader's tripping penalty but that didn't stop the Penguins' offensive onslaught.

Kessel scored from the right circle at 15:11, assisted by Cole and Bonino, giving him 22 goals for the season.

Jimmy Howard, on his 32nd birthday, replaced Mrazek in goal.

Mrazek allowed four goals on 27 shots. It is the third time Mrazek has been pulled in a game against the Penguins.

For his career, Mrazek has a 4.52 goals-against average and .884 save percentage against the Penguins. This season alone, Mrazek has a 5.61 goals-against average and .863 save percentage in three games against them.

At 16:22, Datsyuk was called for interference as he hit Kunitz, who was dazed and had to be helped off the ice.


SCORING: 1. PIT, Chris Kunitz (17), Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, :20.

1. DET, minor, Pavel Datsyuk, hooking, 3:02. 2. DET, minor, Justin Abdelkader, tripping, 13:03. 3. DET, minor, Pavel Datsyuk, interference, 16:22.

SHOTS: Detroit 10 (19), Pittsburgh 15 (27).

For the first time all season, the Wings have scored a power-play goal in four consecutive games.

Bonino went off for tripping Nyquist at 4:41 and the Wings quickly capitalized.

Mike Green's shot from the high slot fluttered in, appeared to hit a Penguin or two and then went past Fleury stick side. Datsyuk got the lone assist, the 600th of his career.

It was Green's first goal since Feb. 6 against the New York Islanders, snapping a 20-game goalless drought.

But the Penguins restored the three-goal lead at 6:34.

Tomas Tatar fell down and Bonino picked up the puck and went in with Brendan Smith defending.

Howard made the initial save but Eric Fehr came in late to poke the rebound into the net.

It was Fehr's first goal in 16 games.

Hagelin and Kessel got a partial 2-on-1 with Smith back and Datsyuk coming in but Smith couldn't prevent Kessel's pass to Hagelin on the left side and Hagelin beat Howard at 8:37 for his second of the game.

Bonino capped off his five-point day with a power-play goal at 14:45, assisted by Kessel and Fehr. Kessel also had five points.

It is the most goals allowed by the Wings this season and most scored by the Penguins.


SCORING: 1. DET, PPG: Mike Green (5), Pavel Datsyuk, 5:08. 2. PIT, Eric Fehr (6), Nick Bonino, 6:34. 3. PIT, Carl Hagelin (11, 2nd of game), Phil Kessel, Nick Bonino, 8:37. 4. PIT, PPG, Nick Bonino (6), Phil Kessel, Eric Fehr, 14:45.

PENALTIES: 1. PIT, minor, Nick Bonino, tripping, 4:41. 2. DET, minor, Danny DeKeyser, interference, 9:19. 3. PIT, minor, Ian Cole, slashing, 11:55. 4. DET, minor, Justin Abdelkader, slashing, 11:55. 5. DET, minor, Brad Richards, tripping, 13:45.

SHOTS: Detroit 4 (23), Pittsburgh 14 (41).

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