The Detroit Red Wings were downtrodden with 10 straight losses including eight in regulation and looked like it for stretches of the game. The Pittsburgh Penguins took the bait and tried to coast to a 4-1 win, but Detroit snapped to life and pressured Penguins goalie Matt Murray in the final minutes. The Penguins didn’t bring their best game to Detroit but they did enough for a grinding 5-3 win at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday night.
Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel their bromance with three points each.
“I just think they’re two really good players. They’ve got great offensive instincts. They see the ice so well,” said head coach Mike Sullivan. “And they just have the ability to adapt to whoever they play with.”
The Penguins got secondary scoring on Friday night but Malkin and Guentzel factored on three of the four 5v5 goals. The force which Malkin has brought to the Penguins lineup is immediately reminiscent of his Hart Trophy and Art Ross surge in 2012.
No other Penguins line was on the plus side of the ledger. No other Penguins line created a scoring chance on the rush or created rebounds.
Detroit forced the Penguins to play well enough, if not workman-like. There was little space in the first period. Despite a five-day layoff, Detroit pressured the Penguins more so than the Penguins were able to pressure Detroit in the first 20 minutes.
Tactically, Detroit was aggressive, at least when they were playing well.