The Detroit Red Wings needed to turn the tide after dropping four of their previous five games, including a 7-2 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday. They did just that with their 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins this afternoon.
Petr Mrazek did a great job when tasked with providing Jimmy Howard with a game off. The 23-year-old goalie turned aside 42 of 43 shots, including a 19 shot barrage in the second frame. Forward Teemu Pulkkinen, 23, also proved to be a big factor with two goals, including the game winner at 18:06 of the second period:
Defenseman Marek Zidlicky assisted on that marker and finished the contest with a game-high three points to extend his scoring streak to three contests. Since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils, the 38-year-old defenseman has stepped up with three goals and four assists in seven games.
As much as Detroit did a lot of things right today, this was also one that the Penguins let slip away. Pittsburgh played an undisciplined game and accumulated 64 penalty minutes to Detroit’s 14. The staggering differential was largely due to incidents between Pittsburgh and the officials themselves.
“Yesterday we lost two of our key players [Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby],” Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said, per the Penguins’ Twitter feed. “Today we lost our composure.”
If there was a silver lining for Pittsburgh, it’s that Crosby was able to return from an illness and went on to collect an assist in 22:02 minutes of ice time. At the same time, Pittsburgh lost forward Patric Hornqvist to an injury that Johnston felt “looked bad when he came off the ice.” He’ll need to be evaluated Monday.
Pittsburgh has now lost three of its last four games going into Tuesday’s contest against the Devils.