DETROIT -- It certainly wasn't the result the Red Wings wanted, being beaten by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1, in overtime, before a boisterous Friday night crowd at Little Caesars Arena, but it was the type of game the Red Wings needed to play after Wednesday night's 8-2 loss on Long Island at the hands of the New York Islanders.
Detroit's pride was on the line versus the Penguins, and the Wings responded by being strong defensively and playing a physical brand of hockey against one of the NHL's top teams.
The Red Wings registered 33 hits against the Pengins, with Luke Glendening setting a career high and a Red Wings season best by doling out nine hits. It's just the sixth time a Wings player delivered nine or more hits in a game since 2009-10.
After being pulled Wednesday when he surrendered three goals on seven shots for a .571 save percentage in New York, goalie Jimmy Howard responded with one of his best performances of the season.
Howard stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced for a .946 save percentage.
Matt Murray patrolled the Penguins net and matched Howard's stellar play. The Wings fired 29 shots, with Murray stopping all but one for a save percentage of .966.
Filip Zadina (power play) was Detroit's lone goal scorer, while Michigan native Bryan Rust (power play) and Sidney Crosby (power play, overtime winner) tallied for Pittsburgh
It is a quick turnaround for Detroit (12-32-4) as it plays rare back-to-back home games, hosting the Florida Panthers Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Pittsburgh (30-13-5), next sees action on Sunday afternoon against the Boston Bruins in the Steel City. The contest will be nationally televised by NBC.
1. Jimmy Howard: When you're a goaltender struggling, the National Hockey League is a tough place because there's nowhere to hide. Howard came into the game with a 4.26 goals-against average and .876 save percentage, far below the 3.07 goals-against average and .909 save percentage he had in last year's All-Star season. Those numbers cannot be attributed solely to Howard's play as the team in front of him bears responsibility as well. However, Howard has usually played well against the Penguins, coming into the game with a 7-3-1 record, 2.60 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 15 games against them. Howard and the team combined for a much better showing than they did on Long Island Tuesday. Howard stopped Evgeni Malkin 44 seconds into the game and then stopped all 11 Penguins shots in the first. That included two when the Penguins were on the power play, including Crosby at the left side of the net at 11:14. In the second, Howard made a quick slide to his right to prevent Dominik Kahun from scoring at 19:51. Rust beat Howard glove-side on the power play at 3:36 of the third, which tied the game at 1-1. In overtime, the Penguins capitalized on another power play when Crosby scored at 1:33.
Quotable: "That's one of those things where when breakdowns happen, I gotta make the saves. I just haven't this year for the guys. Tonight I was able to make a couple. It was unfortunate they got the power play there in overtime but it was a solid effort in front. I was seeing pucks. I wasn't overdoing anything. To be honest, I just finally put it out of my mind and just played." - Howard
Quotable II: "The good part of it is in the first part of the game we helped out Howie and let him get comfortable. Unfortunately in third, he had to make some big saves but he did for us and that's what we need. Every team needs that. Every team, you're goalie's gonna carry you, so it was great to see him do that for us tonight. I wish we got the two points for us. He deserved it for sure." - Dylan Larkin
Quotable III: "He was awesome. He was the best player from our team for sure. He was outstanding. It was great. But we gotta go and score more goals than one goal and help him. He was playing really good tonight." - Zadina
Quotable IV: "I'm sure important. I know he wants to go out and he wants to play at the level he's proven he's capable of and he certainly did that tonight so I hope he can build on this and get rolling." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Filip Zadina: Especially in Anthony Mantha's absence, the Wings need Zadina's offense. He and Mantha are known for their lethal shots. Zadina had gone three games without a point but when Zach Aston-Reese went to the penalty box for holding at 1:59 of the second period, Zadina took full advantage of the man-advantage. Zadina fired from the right circle and with Givani Smith screening Murray, the puck went right under Murray's left leg. Frans Nielsen and Trevor Daley got the assists. For Nielsen, it marked his 300th career NHL assist. It was Zadina's sixth goal of the season and third power-play goal in 23 games. Since he came up from Grand Rapids on Nov. 24, Zadina is tied for fourth on the team in scoring and is sixth among rookies in that span. Zadina finished with 19 shifts for 15:12, had three shots, one hit, one giveaway, one blocked shot and was even.
Quotable: "(Smith's) a huge guy. He's done a good job around the net. He just went in there and took the goalie's eyes away, so I just shoot a puck. It was pretty easy to score because he didn't see anything. It was a good job from him and a good shot, I guess. If he had tipped it, it would've been a good goal for us. It doesn't really matter. I'm glad I scored it. So just keep going and win the next game tomorrow." - Zadina
Quotable II: "He's a worker. For a skilled player, he works hard. We're gonna need him to keep doing that and keep playing gritty. Every game, his confidence is building. That's a great sign for our team and a great sign for him doing that in this league." - Larkin
Quotable III: "I think confidence has been a big factor for him. He's playing real good hockey, he's done it right, he's stopping on pucks, he's doing all those things, but then I think he's confident with the puck. You can see the confidence with the puck. He's making the right plays, he's not careless with it. He's just confident with it. There's a fine line there. Sometimes you get careless as an offensive player and end up turning a bunch of pucks over. He's not doing that. He's playing confident, he's getting over the puck, he knows he's got a little bit more time. Just as you're in the league a little bit you realize you have a little bit more time to make a play. He's gotten stronger, so that's given him more confidence as well. There's no doubt he's playing at a much higher level now than he was a year ago and at the beginning of the year, but that's the reality, that's how it normally goes. That's the developmental process." - Blashill
3. Trevor Daley: Daley may not be quite the player he was before the injury bug struck him the last two seasons, but he was an integral part of the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. Daley has been limited to just 23 games this season because of a lower-body injury, but he drew back into the lineup after missing the last four games. Daley not only was paired with Filip Hronek, he also quarterbacked the second power-play unit as Mike Green shifted to the first unit so Hronek could move to the flank. Daley assisted on Zadina's power-play goal in the second period, his second point of the season. Daley finished with 28 shifts for 19:07, had two shots, a giveaway, two blocked shots and was even.
Quotable: "It's huge. Whenever you can add somebody with experience like that, it helps maybe calm things down back there a little bit. Dales played a great game for us." - Howard
Quotable II: "I thought overall we checked pretty good. We're going to have to be a team that does that to have success. We've talked lots about that. Long-term, that's the No. 1 growth that young players have to learn and I think we did a good job of that overall. Obviously I thought Howie played well. You check pretty good and when you break down your goalie makes saves and it's the key to keep you in games. It gives you a chance to win. We had the 1-0 lead going into the third. I thought they leaned on us in the third. Parts of the second we started to carry the play, then I thought they leaned on us in the third a lot. Obviously being down, it was unfortunate to give up the power-play goal, it was unfortunate to take a penalty in overtime." - Blashill