It didn't end up being a third consecutive buzzer beater, but a lot of Red Wings fans will accept the team's 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.
Perhaps the first good scoring chance of the game should have been a good indication of how the game would end. Thirty seconds into the game, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby broke in one on one against Nicklas Lidstrom. Crosby fired a high shot through Lidstrom that Jimmy Howard snared, flashing his glove in the process.
Off a strong game Saturday night, Valtteri Filppula opened the scoring for Detroit. Filppula took a pass from Todd Bertuzzi and streaked in along the boards before dragging the puck to the inside and beating Marc-Andre Fleury with a shot along the blocker side.
Detroit extended their lead to 2-0 courtesy of Henrik Zetterberg. In a move eerily reminiscent of his game-winning goal on Saturday night, Zetterberg found himself with the puck along the boards, dropping his shoulder and cutting to the middle of the ice and firing a backhand shot on Fleury. Unlike Roberto Luongo, Fleury made the save before Zetterberg popped home the rebound.
Pittsburgh cut the lead in half late in the second period. Brian Rafalski turned the puck over in Detroit's zone and a goal mouth scramble saw Pascal Dupuis tap the puck past the sprawled Howard. That was the only puck to get passed the rookie goaltender on the night, as he turned aside 26 shots for Detroit's seventh win in nine games.
Zetterberg sealed the win early in the third period as he broke in alone against two Pittsburgh defenders and fired a long shot that beat Fleury low. It was Zetterberg's third three-point game of the season, and the end of the scoring for the night.
However, it was the activity after the final horn blew that is going to have people talking tomorrow.
With just seconds left in the game, the Penguins "captain" delivered three or four cross checks to Henrik Zetterberg, apparently tired of being kept off the scoresheet, as is the standard when the two teams meet. Zetterberg retaliated with a few shoves of his own. The shoving escalated into a small net front scrum that saw Bertuzzi step in, but ultimately ended with Howard pulling Crosby away. The two exchanged a few shots, ending with Crosby getting a face full of the same trapper that stoned him thirty seconds into the game.
This type of behavior has been nothing new for Crosby, who seems particularly attracted to Zetterberg after the game is officially decided. This video catches the beginning of the attack, along with a solid replay of Zetterberg doing absolutely nothing to incite the event:
Stay Classy, Sidney Crosby (via RedWingFan1340)
Detroit opens up a four point lead on Calgary for 8th place in the West, each with 72 games played. They trail Colorado by one point and Los Angeles by two, as the two teams go head-to-head in a game that started literally a few minutes ago.
Player of the Game: Even though he didn't have too many tremendously difficult saves -- and even though Zetterberg was the Wings best player through the first and last whistle -- it was Jimmy Howard's defense of Z after the final whistle that is going to be a lasting memory for Red Wings fans. Howard has never been afraid to mix it up at other levels, but this type of behavior (kept within reason) is only going to continue winning over fans.