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The Pens Aren’t Mightier: Wings 5, Penguins 2

If you didn’t watch the game, the headline isn’t a joke.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

All right, it’s Hockey Day in America! After recapping a game on NBC last weekend, I’m really happy that today’s game is not on....checking the schedule....

But I will soldier on, only complaining several times a period, I’m guessing. Today’s gif theme, as you can see above, is Orphan Black.

The good news is that Ryan Sproul is in the lineup again. The bad news is that Mike Green is still out. Tomas Jurco is reportedly still a member of the Red Wings, although I’ll believe it when I see him.

The last few recaps have featured comments from our readers that the recap was more entertaining than the game. While I of course appreciate that some people are entertained by my recaps, I really hope that today’s game is exciting.

I turned the game on in time to see the post-game program for the Washington - New York Rangers game. I keep looking in the background, hoping that Pierre McGuire did the 12pm game so he can’t be between the benches for our game.

First Period

After a rush led by Zetterberg didn’t lead to a shot, Brendan Smith threw a puck at the net from the blue line. Mantha deflected it in front, but Murray caught it. Great chance to start the game.

After doing something good, of course Smith ran into Mrazek at the other end, leading to a Penguins shot ringing off the post.

A misplay by Jensen and another player (Sheahan?) led to a Kessel breakaway, but Mrazek stood tall at the other end.

Detroit’s fourth line gets dominated on a shift, but fortunately it doesn’t lead to a goal against.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot how much I hate Hornqvist. He followed up a Penguins shot and tried to put the rebound in from short range. He didn’t do anything dirty on that play, but just give him time.

The first five minutes have featured more good chances than some games I recap, so that’s fun. Nielsen nearly puts in a lob pass, but he whiffed on it. In fairness, that would have been a highlight reel goal.

According to Pierre McGuire, having a player like Anthony Mantha is a good thing. We put up with his annoying habits so that we can get golden analysis like that.

With Emrick calling play-by-play today instead of Steve Albert, players who only watch Detroit on NBC are wondering what happened to Red Wing defenseman Zaviyay Wallet.


Abdelkader receives an outlet pass and breaks in two-on-one with Jensen. He makes a nice pass to Jensen to send him in alone on Murray. Jensen fakes a shot that freezes Murray. Jensen skates to the outside of Murray and tucks the puck into the net from a sharp angle for a beautiful finish.

While Abdelkader’s pass was instrumental in setting up Jensen, Athanasiou made a strong play at his blue line to spring Abdelkader. They each pick up assists on Jensen’s third goal of the year.

Mrazek fights through a screen in front of the net by Hornqvist. The Pittsburgh player bumped Detroit’s goalie, which should not be surprising at this point.

With 6:28 left in the first, the Wings go to their first power play of the game as Malkin gets his stick up in Helm’s face.

Ugh Ugh Ugh.

The Red Wings not only don’t score on the power play, but they give up a shorthanded goal. Kronwall, who somehow continues to play on the power play, passes the puck directly to Letang. The speedy combination of Kronwall and Abdelkader can’t get back, and Tom Kuhnhackl, whom I’m being told is a National Hockey League player, rips one past Mrazek.

The bulk of the blame should be carried by Kronwall, but Mrazek didn’t look great there.


Steve Ott hits Letang against the boards, then goes to the slot. He takes a pass from Sheahan and....makes a good move? First the Penguins are making up players to score on us, then Ott scores on a nice move? OK, fine, let’s roll with it.

Ott waited longer than Murray thought he would, then lifted a backhander past him into the net. Our readers know how I feel about Ott, but I’ll give him credit where credit is due.

After scoring, Ott celebrated with Sheahan, saying “I guess it’s not that hard to score,” before both fell into an awkward silence.

Nielsen almost scored moments later off a feed from Vanek from behind the net.

The period ends 2-1.

Dylan Larkin played 4:46 at 5 on 5 this period, but I didn’t notice him. Hopefully that will change.

If you had told me before the game that we would be up 2-1 at the end of the first and Jensen and Ott would have the goals, this would have been my reaction:

But, I’ll obviously take it.

Second Period

If you missed the game, I can’t let you miss this graphic they put up in the first. Look at that hair!

Crosby takes a run at Jensen. Later that shift, Mantha finishes a hit on Crosby. Sid doesn’t like that, and he cross checks him. They chirp and slash each other. Both go for two minutes.

Mrazek has a top-notch sliding save on Daley on a shot I thought was going to be in.

Nick Jensen continues to have a really solid game. He joins the rush at one end, then gets back to break up a potential 3 on 1.

The hitting has picked up noticeably in the second period. I’ll be surprised if we get through the whole game without a fight.

Mrazek absolutely robs Bonino. The point shot goes wide and caroms out in front. Mrazek slides across and gets the glove up to stop what looked like a sure goal.

Shortly before this, Abdelkader made a bad decision that fortunately didn’t have the outcome it could have. Cole went back to retrieve a puck behind the goal line. Abdelkader lined him up and glided in for the hit. Cole lost his footing, so he missed most of the hit.

It was just a bad setup. Players have to hold up in those cases.

Nick Jensen gets his stick into Malkin’s skates. Malkin falls, and Jensen goes to the box. A pretty weak call considering what was let go the last ten minutes.

Brendan Smith goes after Hornqvist after the whistle, which makes me happy. I can’t think of many players I can’t stand more than Hornqvist

Helm gets a shorthanded breakaway, then...falls down. Seriously.

Shortly later Sheahan takes a cross crease feed and one times it in for his first....

Oh come on. I’m beginning to think that Sheahan desecrated a holy grave site before this season started.

At the other end, Ouellet breaks Bonino’s stick, and the Penguins go back to the power play.

Smith lays out Hornqvist again, and I’m loving it.

This PP is less scary than the last one, and the Wings kill it.

Jensen loses an edge, but gets a one-handed pass to Tatar who saucers it to Mantha going to the net. Mantha can’t hit it out of the air. That would have been one for the highlight reels.

Kunitz and Bonino make one too many passes, and blow what looked to be a sure goal.

It’ll be hilarious when Smith and Hornqvist fight, then find out after the game that Smith is traded to Pittsburgh.

The period ends with the good guys still winning by a score of 2 to 1.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but we’re still winning!

Third Period


30 seconds in, the circus act of Tatar, Mantha, and Zetterberg combine for a goal. Mantha stole the outlet pass, passed it to Tatar, who was cutting to the net. Tatar and Zetterberg combined for a quick give-and-go, and Tatar slid the puck under Murray’s pad and into the net.


Seriously, what is happening this weekend? Daley and Letang back off and allow Vanek to walk in and wrist one past Murray.

But Crosby isn’t going down that easily. Off the ensuing faceoff, Crosby takes the puck from the boards and goes by Jensen before whipping a shot through the five hole. 4-2 Red Wings.

Larkin gets taken down by Cole, likely preventing a breakaway. The Wings will go to a power play.

I think Kronwall’s name is written on the power play section of the whiteboard in Sharpie, and they can’t figure out how to get it off.

Athanasiou draws a penalty, and the Red Wings will have 13 seconds of a 5 on 3.

The Wings get nothing going on the power play, almost not even getting set up, then give up a shorthanded breakaway AGAIN.

Shortly after, Pittsburgh goes back to the power play. I’m not feeling good about this.

Ott off for interference. It looked like Mrazek made another miracle save just before the whistle blew for the penalty, but the replay showed that Riley Sheahan saved a goal with a quick stick.

The Wings kill the penalty. A few minutes later, Athanasiou rang one off the post, nearly making it 5-2.

Tatar decides to make the last five minutes interesting by high sticking Hagelin. Tatar’s stick hit off Hagelin’s and rode up into his face. Looked like it could have been four minutes, but the Wings only have to kill 2 minutes.

Bonino helps Detroit out by getting his stick up into Nielsen’s face, negating the power play. Detroit has just over a minute of power play time once the four-on-four expires.

Kronwall does something really dumb, but gets bailed out when Hagelin does something even stupider. Kronwall jousts with Hagelin behind the play. On the delayed call, Hagelin trips Zetterberg, meaning both go.

With a minute left, Pittsburgh takes their timeout.

GOAL! Luke Glendening buries the puck into the empty net. Nice play Ott to get the puck to him. 5-2 Wings.

And we win!