The Pittsburgh Penguins put the pain on the Red Wings in one of their worst defeats of the season. Phil Kessel scored a goal and set a season high four assists that helped in their 7-2 win over Detroit at Joe Louis Arena Saturday afternoon. The two key points that the Red Wings needed disappeared in two pairs of a series of unanswered goals.
The Red Wings set up for another early matchup and hope they could take down the Penguins who have beaten them twice so far. Despite all the injuries they have had, Pittsburgh has still found ways to win until their loss Thursday. For Detroit, it was another must win for them as two teams that are in front of them are close enough to jump by.
They are even with the Flyers for the wild card while the Bruins sit in the third spot in the Atlantic Division. Winning puts them in a better spot if they can get it done. Defeating the Canadiens in their comeback was an important one and beating Pittsburgh will be a huge factor in their drive for another consecutive playoff appearance.
The Penguins got the edge on the opening faceoff trying to get a piece of the net with Petr Mrazek in front of it. The 24 made big stops helping the Red Wings get control of the puck. A rush just seconds later ended with Gustav Nyquist going for a great opportunity at Marc-Andre Fleury but he was tripped near the crease killing his scoring chance.
The Penguins controlled the puck while maintain a solid defense that stole the puck away when Detroit made their way into the Pittsburgh zone. Anthony Mantha was one of those trying to break one behind Fleury and gain a grow a consecutive scoring streak but was denied. His teammate Andreas Anthanasiou was lucky to notch Detroit on the board jumping off the bench during a great deal in the neutral zone. The pass from Brad Richards got to the rookie breaking away to score his seventh of the season.
After spending a chunk of time catching up on shots with Pittsburgh, they caught an opportunity on the power play but failed to get the puck close to the net. Pittsburgh went back to work but had Mrazek and the Red Wings defense keeping their end clean. He stopped 11 shots to the net going 20 minutes flawless against the Penguins.
It came to an end in a bad way at the start of the second as an icing call got overlooked sending play around the boards where Kris Kunitz got hold of the puck. His try went off the back of Mrazek who never knew a thing pushing it into the net himself to level the game at one. Kunitz received credit gaining his 17th 20 seconds into it.
They made it 2-1 on their first power play with Kris Letang scoring his 17th on a shot that went through the five hole of Mrazek. It was the beginning of more to come from the Penguins as they completely dominated on ice taking 12 shots through a dozen minutes while they held Detroit to just four. It produced their third unanswered on a drive from Carl Hagelin notching his 10th.
Things took a turn for the worst as the Penguins scored their fourth consecutive with Kessel recording his 22nd on an easy shot that saw the end to Mrazek in the net. Jimmy Howard came in to help stop their run of Detroit and make a march back to cover the gap. Pavel Datsyuk returned the Penguins to the man advantage as he clashed with Kunitz where the two looked at one another before the Penguins forward took the brunt of the hit. Detroit was lucky to kill off the penalty but with little time to recover it would be their most important third period to reach for the win.
The Red Wings fought hard in the third with the knowledge that plenty needed to happen no matter how they got it done. Detroit got onto the second power play with Mike Green in the offensive pattern. He took a shot from the slot that went off a Penguins defender and into the net giving the defenseman his fifth. For Datsyuk it was the 600th career assists but he nothing to celebrate with Detroit sitting down a pair.
Just when it looked like things would start looking up, Pittsburgh smashed to pieces. They returned to the margin to three on a loose puck that Howard couldn’t put his glove on in time. Eric Fehr saw his chance and scored an easy puck for his sixth.
Detroit allowed a third straight for the second time in the game with Hagelin getting his second of the game on a two on one with Kessel setting up his teammate with the scoring chance. Coach Jeff Blashill took a timeout to give it to his squad that the game was out of reach but allowing so many goals was unacceptable if they couldn’t keep up.
They didn’t as the Penguins made it a 7-2 rout with Bonino scoring his sixth on the power play to give him a career high points rack with five points. There was 5;15 left in the game for the Red Wings and they wanted to put an end to the day and get their loss of important points. With just seven games left in the schedule, the Red Wings cant afford to lose another when they host the Buffalo Sabres Monday.