Red Wings Ice Penguins
Detroit returned to the site of last years Stanley Cup celebration and left much in the same way they did last June, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 to earn their fourth straight win and close in on the suddenly sinking Sharks.
After a scoreless first period, Pavel Datsyuk drew first blood, snapping the puck past Marc Andre-Fleury off a rebound shot by Henrik Zetterberg on the power play.
Marian Hossa scored his 30th of the season midway through the third on a beautiful backhand. He brought the puck into the Penguins zone and after changing directions, shed forward Jordan Staal and backhanded the puck over Fleury’s glove.
The Wings spent the rest of the third period trying to ice the game but Pavel Datsyuk scored his second of the game with less than three minutes to go thanks to a good second effort. Despite being ridden into the zone, Datsyuk managed to get a shot off, slip off the defender and get his own rebound which slipped behind Fleury to make it 3-0 and put the game out of reach.
Hossa, who rejected a $40 million offer to stay in Pittsburgh last summer, opting to sign with the defending Champions, was not greeted warmly by Penguins fans. Hossa was greeted with a slew of boos, especially after his goal, and several fans waved signs calling him a traitor.
"These are great hockey fans, and they show you their emotions," Hossa said. "Once or twice in your career you've got these games, so basically you try to enjoy it because this doesn't happen often. You try to use their energy to your advantage."
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The Red Wings defense held the leagues two highest scorers – Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby in check, allowing Malkin just four shots and Crosby just one that came late in the third.
Conklin had his best game in quite some time, stopping all 25 shots he faced to earn his sixth shutout of the season. Conklin did a great job of gloving shots and not allowing rebound opportunities, keeping the Penguins scoring chances to a minimum.
Detroit ’s recently shaky penalty kill was much improved as the Wings managed to kill off all five penalties. On the other side, as the number one team in the league on power play scoring, Detroit was able to convert on 1 0f 3 opportunities.
After a five game slide the Wings have gotten back on a roll, winning their fourth straight and, thanks to back to back losses by the Sharks, have closed within two points of the west’s top seed. With a win Tuesday at Nashville and a loss by the Sharks – who face the East leading Boston Bruins, they could move into a tie.
ProHockey-fans.com Detroit Red Wings Correspondent