Pittsburgh at Detroit (3/21/11)

The Red Wings were at home tonight playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The goalies were Jimmy Howard and Brent Johnson. Datsyuk, Franzen and Hudler were all still out for the Wings. Salei was back in the lineup but since they were short one forward they went with an extra defenseman and Kindl was able to stay in. The Penguins were also missing two of their top players in Crosby and Malkin.

The momentum in this game swung back and forth all night long. The first period started out all Red Wings and then the Penguins picked it up. The Red Wings didn’t score however and the Penguins did. Dupuis and Kunitz both scored for Pittsburgh while the Penguins were surging in the first period. It was clear early on that Howard was having a problem controlling rebounds tonight and the Penguins took advantage of that.

Pittsburgh continued to dominate through most of the second period. Dupuis scored a shorthanded goal and then Kennedy scored to make it four to nothing. Howard got the hook at that point and MacDonald came in to relieve him. The Red Wings continued to battle hard. Their energy level seemed to be going up steadily while Pittsburgh was starting to slow down. The Penguins had played the night before and the Red Wings were rested so that could have made a difference as the game went on. Zetterberg broke the Red Wings’ goose egg when he scored late in the second period making it four to one Penguins.

Incredibly, Detroit scored three more unanswered goals in just over half of the third period to tie the game. Filppula scored one and then Cleary and Modano scored power play goals. With nearly ten minutes left in the game it was all tied up. The Red Wings really dominated the rest of the game but didn’t score again.

In the overtime it was all out war. The two teams went at it with scoring chances galore at both ends. It was really exciting to watch but it didn’t solve anything and the game went to a shootout.

Bertuzzi, Modano and Cleary were the shooters for the Wings and Johnson stopped them all. The Penguins went with Kovalev, Letang and Neal. Unfortunately, the final shooter, Neal, placed his shot perfectly over MacDonald’s shoulder. It was a really tough shot that probably wouldn’t have been stopped by any goalie in the league.

The Penguins got the extra point but the Wings showed a ton of poise to not panic and stick to their game plan even being down four to nothing. It was an amazing comeback and MacDonald deserves a lot of credit for coming into to a really tough situation and battling through it.

This game had a nasty edge to it. The Penguins were running the Detroit players every chance they got. Unbelievably, they were even dishing out shots to the head. I didn’t expect that after the suspension that was just handed out to Matt Cooke. Abdelkader was slammed into the boards by Niskanen who then used his forearm to pin his head into the glass. That was pretty cheap and unnecessary. That one was called at least, but a few other hits to the head were not called even though they looked almost like suspension-worth shots.

All in all this was a great game. It was very exciting and even without a lot of the big stars it still felt a lot like some of the Stanley Cup Finals games of years past.

This 5-4 overtime loss brings us to:
43-21-9
95 points

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