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Posted on: 01-31-2010

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    Last year's Stanley Cup Finalists
met in a playoff-style game Sunday
    Sidney Crosby scored both in
regulation and in the shootout as the Cup Champ Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Red
Wings 2-1.
    Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard deserved a better fate. After making 46-SV in
the first 65-mins, Howard was beaten twice by backhanders on three shootout shots.
    The Penguins kept Howard busy by out-shooting Detroit 16-8 in the 1st-Per
(half of those shots on a pair of power plays) and 13-5 in the middle frame. Howard
foiled a pair of 2-on-1's by Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the 2nd-Per, then robbed
Crosby before Sid The Kid broke the scoreless deadlock.
    Pittsburgh won the battle along the left boards on a breakout play from their
own end, the puck and the Red Wing defenders flowed to the right side, but the
Wings somehow forgot to cover Crosby who was still on left wing. After the Pens
moved the puck on the rush into Detroit's defensive zone, Alex Goligoski sent a
cross-ice pass to Crosby. With three Wings back-checkers caught on the right side,
Crosby had time to go forehand to backhand as he pulled Howard from Howie's left
to right. Once Howard left the right side of the net open, Crosby (#34) calmly
backhandered at 16:46/2.
    During an early 3rd-Per Detroit power play, Valtteri Filppula missed a wide open
net by firing laterally between the goal cage and Marc-Andre Fleury. As Detroit
continued to rapid-fire the puck, Filppula then fanned on a one-timer.
    The Wings finally got on the board when they took control of play midway through
the period and Dan Cleary moved the puck out of the right corner to Brad Stuart at
the right point. Cleary moved to screen Fleury and none of the flatfooted Penguins
defenders moved out to challenge Stuart, who had ample time to set up his slapshot
blast. Cleary (#11) was given credit for the tip-in at 11:10/3.
    The Penguins responded and during the follow-up frenzy Jordan Staal twice hit
the crossbar behind Howard on the same shift. Later, Howard flashed his glovehand
to rob Staal with 39-sec left in regulation.
    When Filppula was hooked from behind on a solo rush by Sergei Gonchar, Detroit
buzzed without success on a power play for the last 1:21 of a furious overtime.
    Fleury saved on both Pavel Datsyuk and Jason Williams in the shootout and
Detroit never got a chance for a third shootout chance.
    Crosby patiently faked Howard to the ice and backhandered top shelf on the
Pens' second round try. In the top half of the third round Malkin slow-motioned to
backhand his soft shot under Howie's left skate.
    The Penguins stayed perfect at 7-0 in shootouts this season. The Red Wings
are 4-6.
    By extending beyond regulation, Detroit earned a single standings point to
tie idle Calgary for the 8th and final NHL Western Conference playoff spot.


R-WINGS H-COACH MIKE BABCOCK:   "We have to find it within ourselves to have
more energy and more emotion. That's the only way to come through this because
we're only making it harder on ourselves."

R-WINGS DEF NIKLAS KRONWALL:   "We were on our heels a little bit, I think we
gave them too much respect. We have to do a way better job. It's going to be a
tough year if we keep letting 40-plus shots go past us. He [Howard] is keeping
us in games."

R-WINGS GOALIE JIMMY HOWARD:   "They got Malkin and Crosby. I mean, Crosby
knocked the water bottle out of the sleeve [on top of the net], it was such a backhand.
Malkin, he just came in and just started stickhandling. There's not much you can do

PENS CEN/CAPT SIDNEY CROSBY:   "We were able to generate a lot. We deserved
to win that in 60 minutes, but they're a veteran team and they know how to win.
And we knew he [Howard] was playing solid, but we never expect any goalie
[to hold us] to one goal in 40-some shots...I think Geno [Malkin] should have lots
of confidence [in shootouts]. He has great moves and that one was a pretty good
example of it."

PENS H-COACH DAN BYLSMA:   "We know how we need to play and we played that
way today. We played an opponent we know well today and we did a good job with
the puck and a good job on defense and it showed."


    Detroit DEF Niklas Kronwall appeared to reinjure his left knee on Staal midway
through the overtime. Kronwall limped to the bench and did not return. Afterward
he said he was OK.
    Projected Red Wing injury returns:  Tomas Holmstrom, Tuesday, FEB 2ND at San
Jose and Johan Franzen, Tuesday, FEB 9TH at St. Louis.  


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