DETROIT -- At Saturday's morning skate, Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill stressed just how good Pittsburgh's top line of Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust had been playing, and the trio proved it in the Penguins' 5-3 victory over the Red Wings Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Malkin and Guentzel each had a goal and two assists as the Penguins built a 4-1 lead early in the third period.
But give the Red Wings credit as they didn't wilt after going down by three goals. Instead, they found their legs and mounted a comeback, scoring two consecutive goals to pull to within one at the 16:56 mark of the third.
It wasn't until John Marino's empty-net power-play goal with nine seconds left in the game secured the Penguins' third straight victory.
Robby Fabbri (power play), Filip Hronek and Dylan Larkin (power play) were the Red Wings' goal scorers.
Guentzel, Malkin, Marino (empty net, power play), Chad Ruhwedel and Dominik Kahun found the back of the net for the Pens.
Malkin's goal was his eighth of the season and the 399th of his career.
Jonathan Bernier (5-9-2) started in net for the Red Wings. He allowed four goals before he was pulled at the 9:22 mark of the third period and was replaced by Eric Comrie, who saw his first action with the Red Wings.
Matt Murray (10-5-4) picked up the win for the Penguins. The Wings fired 28 shots at Murray, who made 25 saves for an .893 save percentage.
With the loss, the Red Wings' (7-21-3) winless streak stretches to 11 games (0-9-2). The loss also snapped the Wings' four-game home winning streak versus the Penguins.
The defeat could be costly for the Red Wings. Tyler Bertuzzi appeared to suffer a lower-body injury late in the third period after blocking a shot and was slow to get up. Blashill had no update on Bertuzzi's condition in his post-game press conference.
Detroit's next action will be Tuesday night as the Wings face the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg.
Pittsburgh (17-9-4) will also next play on Tuesday as it hosts the Montreal Canadiens.
1. Filip Hronek: Since he returned from Grand Rapids last season, Hronek has been a staple on the Detroit blue line. He has a nasty disposition and an offensive flair, which has elevated him into being the Red Wings' most consistent blueliner. His goal at 13:00 of the third period ignited the Wings comeback as he pinched in and fired home a perfect pass from Darren Helm into a wide open net. For the game, Hronek had a goal, was even and led the Wings in ice time at 24:34. This season in 29 games, he has six goals among 14 points, is minus-13 and is second on the team in blocked shots with 34 and fourth in hits delivered with 34. His ice time average of 23:01 heading into the Penguins game leads the Red Wings. In a season filled with disappointment, Hronek has been a bright spot for the Wings.
Quotable: "Partially, he's done a really good job. He's a good player. I wish in some ways we didn't have so many injuries so he doesn't have to play as much. You'd like to balance that out a little bit more. But he's got thrust into a role as a penalty killer on a consistent basis. A lot of times he's one of our top penalty killers and then he's a power-play guy and he's a matchup guy for us, so that equals lots of ice time. I think he's earned it. I think he's played good hockey. He's really competitive. He makes mistakes but he learns from them, he gets better from them when he's coached and he's real competitive." - Blashill
Quotable II: "He's a real good player. At first, I heard about him and I saw his stat line, obviously, and it's always impressive when you see defensemen putting up .5 per game pace. I think he's doing that this year as well. I think he's mobile, you see the evolution of the new defensemen in the NHL nowadays that can skate, they can transport the puck up ice and also be hard to play against defensively and be defensively reliable. I think he's all those things. He's a great player, a young player and he's going to continue to get better." - Alex Biega
2. Luke Glendening: His game may be understated, but Glendening plays an important role on and off the ice for the Red Wings. He constantly sacrifices his body to make a play and provides valuable leadership with his calm demeanor. Against the Penguins in 16:37 of total ice time, he was even, had four shots, doled out three hits and won 67 percent of his face-offs, going 6-of-9 from the dot. This season, Glendening has five points in 20 games, including four goals, is minus-6, leads the Wings in hits with 61, has blocked 24 shots and his face-off percentage of 53.85 is tops on the Wings.
Quotable: "It was good (third-period comeback). I think what ignited that was Helmer (Darren Helm), (Frans) Nielsen, Glenny (Glendening) and their shift there where they were on the forecheck and Helmer was buzzing around and scored that goal, Fil's (Hronek) goal, that was huge for us. They showed us right there by example that just hard work and playing simple and playing the right way and doing it with 100-percent effort. That ignited us and from that moment on, we had life, the building had life and good for those guys to get us going like that and something we needed badly." - Larkin
Quotable II: "It's never a good feeling in the room when you have a loss, but I thought we continued to build on what we were doing before we had a four-day break. I thought we had four good days of practice and I thought it showed today. We played hard, we competed hard, obviously we're on the wrong side of the scoreboard though. We just have to keep competing, keep working. I see a lot of things in our game I like. I'm proud of the way this group competed. I'm proud of the way we worked. Obviously disappointed in the score. We have to find a way to get some dirty goals. It's coming." - Glendening
3. Dylan Larkin: On several occasions, Larkin has called himself out for what he considers subpar play. He is his own worst critic, but on Saturday, even he would have a hard time pointing out deficiencies in his game. Larkin was a ball of energy, buzzing up and down the ice with a relentlessness very few players in the league can match. He led the Wings forwards in ice time, clocking in at 21:11 and notched two points with a goal and an assist. Larkin, along with Glendening, led the Wings with four shots and he won 56 percent of his face-offs (10-of-18), but it was his high motor which really stood out. This season, Larkin has the weight of the Red Wings on his shoulders and he has responded like a leader. His statistics may be down from last season, but his will and sheer determination have left little doubt that Larkin is the heart and soul of the Red Wings.
Quotable: "We need to put a full 60 minutes together. We've seen it too many times. For us, we play good 40, 45, 50 minutes and there's 10 minutes there where just one part of our game isn't there. For us to win in this league, we have to play all together for 60 minutes and give it our best. We have to somehow find a way to grease one out and make it a 2-1 game and a hard game for the other team's top players. It's going to be a fun thing to do that in Winnipeg in a tough building to play and a fast team and somewhere that we've played well in the past. I'm looking forward to the next game in Winnipeg." - Larkin
Quotable II: "His drive's great. I think he's done a good job of staying with it when we've got down. I think he's been one of the guys to be a catalyst to not let us sink. When you've lost the number of games that we lost and you get down 2-0, you got choices to make. I think Dylan's made the right choice a number of times. He's done a good job of that. His determination is probably one of his best attributes. He showed it there at the end." - Blashill
Quotable III: "He was great tonight. He's been good for us all year but nice to see him get rewarded tonight." - Glendening