A day after both the Penguins and the Red Wings were handed disappointing losses, it was just the Penguins that had that happen to them again. Detroit creamed the Penguins by a score of 5-1 in a game in which tempers flared and the teams were on edge for most of the contest.
For the Penguins, they should have done better than they did against the Bruins Saturday afternoon. They got Sidney Crosby back from a reported illness, but couldn’t take advantage of it. After being shut out 2-0 by Tuuka Rask and Boston, the Pens followed that up with an even worse outing against the Red Wings, who were coming off of a 7-2 defeat against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Evgeni Malkin, who is currently top-five in scoring in the NHL, missed the game with a lower-body injury. He was hurt in the first period of the Boston game.
The Wings got off to a good start when Riley Sheahan deflected a Marek Zidlicky shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to put the first goal on the board 1:21 into the first period. The lead was extended with two minutes left in the period when Teemu Pulkkinen scored his fourth of the season to make the lead 2-0.
Late in the period, after Penguins’ center Brandon Sutter was assessed a tripping penalty, Chris Kunitz was given not only a ten-minute misconduct penalty, but a two-minute stay in the sin bin as well. Detroit because of that had a five-on-three heading to the second period, and Zidlicky took advantage just 39 seconds in with a power-play goal to make the score 3-0.
It only took one more goal before Fleury was yanked from the game. That fourth goal was netted by Henrik Zetterburg, and the result was the second appearance in two games for backup goalie Tomas Greiss, who started in the loss on Saturday.
The Red Wings added one more when Pulkkinen added his second. The Penguins would make sure they didn’t get shut out for the second straight game when winger David Perron scored a garbage-time goal with an assist from Crosby, who had this to say after the game:
"It's a tough game. We didn't really give ourselves a chance with a tough start," he said. "With penalties and stuff like that, that can't happen this time of year. We have to correct it.”
There sure were a lot of those penalties. Three Penguins were assessed misconducts, and one of those was ejected. Steve Downie, the NHL’s leader in penalty minutes, eclipsed 200 on the season with not one but two misconducts, in the first and third periods. Defenseman Kris Letang was the player thrown out, for roughing. Kunitz had the second of the four.
Penguins’ winger Patric Hornqvist left the game in the third period with an unspecified injury. Coach Mike Johnston said that he would be evaluated more on Monday.
These types of game that Pittsburgh has played this weekend are something that need to be fixed, as Crosby said. They will have a practice on Monday despite almost never having practices on the day after back-to-back games.