Neal’s shootout goal lifts Pens over Wings
Detroit Red Wings' Tomas Holmstrom (96), of Switzerland, and Pittsburgh Penguins' Dustin Jeffrey (15) reach for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, March 21, 2011, in Detroit.
PENS SO 5
Red Wings 4
Next: Penguins at Flyers, Thursday, 7 p.m.
James Neal scored the only goal in the shootout, and the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled out a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings after blowing a four-goal lead on Monday night.
Just hours after Penguins forward Matt Cooke was suspended by the NHL for the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs for an elbow to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, Pascal Dupuis had two goals and an assist to help Pittsburgh build its big lead.
Tyler Kennedy put Pittsburgh ahead 4-0 at 13:16 of the second period, ending goalie Jimmy Howard’s night. Joey MacDonald stopped all 10 shots he faced before the shootout.
Henrik Zetterberg’s goal started Detroit’s comeback late in the second, and Mike Modano tied it midway through the third.
Brent Johnson stopped 37 shots for the Penguins.
Pittsburgh has had to get used to playing without injured stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Now the Penguins will try to catch the Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia Flyers for the best record in the Eastern Conference without another key player.
Crosby took at least one too many hits to the head this season that have been forced him to sit out since Jan. 5 because of a concussion. Malkin was lost last month for the season after he tore two ligaments in his right knee.
Detroit was missing a star, a standout and a role player against the Penguins.
Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen missed their second straight game with lower body injuries, and Jiri Hudler was out for a third game because of an upper body ailment.
The Red Wings started strong, taking the first five shots and preventing Pittsburgh from getting a puck on Howard for nearly five minutes, and finished with a flurry of offense in regulation.
In between, Pittsburgh was dominant.