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Red Wings earn two points in “griddy” 5-4 comeback win over Penguins

After a poor first period, the Red Wings clawed their way back and took a big two points from a strong Eastern Conference team.

Detroit Red Wings v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

Six days ago, the Detroit Red Wings snapped their losing streak against the Tampa Bay Lightning. And tonight, after the Christmas break, they matched up with another Eastern Conference opponent: the Pittsburgh Penguins, who lost their game last night 5-1 against the New York Islanders.

First Period

It didn’t take long for the Penguins to strike first. Drew O’Connor ripped one by Ville Husso on the short side after Elmer Söderblom failed to get the puck out, and Teddy Blueger took the puck from him near the blue line. The Penguins had a few chances after the goal, but the Red Wings drew a high-sticking penalty on Pierre-Olivier Joseph, who was attempting to chase the puck down through two defenders at the blue line, and that allowed them to get some momentum, which they did.

Shots from Filip Hronek and Moritz Seider at the point didn’t get by the Pittsburgh netminder Casey DeSmith, and neither did attempts from Dominik Kubalik and Joe Veleno. However, they came out of it with a large lead in shots and no goals.

With 9:45 remaining in the period, the Penguins convert on the power play. Hronek got caught deep attempting to retrieve the puck from a scrum, leaving the front of the net with one defender. Kasperi Kapanen found Jeff Carter through the seam, and he put the puck past Husso.

This game is really not going well for Hronek, as he gets beat by Jason Zucker, who takes it around Husso in front of the crease and scores to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead.

After a giant pile of players was created in front, the puck slipped through and squeaked over the goal line. It’s Jason Zucker’s second goal of the game and the second power play goal for the Penguins to give them a 4-0 lead.

Despite leading the period in shots 14-12, mainly produced on their power play early, Detroit found themselves down big at the end of one. The defense in and around the net was poor, and it certainly looked like this team hadn’t played a game in almost a week.

Second Period

The second period saw a new face in the net for Detroit, with Magnus Hellberg taking over for Husso, who had a challenging period that many would say wasn’t entirely his fault. However, the play in front of him wasn’t good enough, and a message needed to be sent.

The Red Wings looked slightly more cohesive to start the period, and they managed to get a goal from Dylan Larkin on the power play from Hronek and Lucas Raymond. It’s his 13th of the season and something that helped the team get their legs moving more.

At the midway point of the period, the Red Wings seemed slowly gaining confidence. A nice play off the skate by Oskar Sundqvist back to Seider set up a good scoring chance and gave the Wings their 10th shot of the period to that point, which was ahead of the Penguins' eight. It was one of a few strong saves from Penguins backup DeSmith.

The Red Wings' luck continued with Sidney Crosby losing his stick at the point. Ben Chiarot faked a slapshot after receiving a pass from the big Swedish forward Söderblom. He got Crosby to go down and attempt to block it, then skated around him and found Joe Veleno in the slot, who tipped the puck by DeSmith for his fifth goal of the season and to make the deficit only two goals.

The Penguins didn’t end up getting on the board in the second period, and the Red Wings were much more aggressive and decisive with and without the puck. They won puck battles down low and were the first to plenty of loose pucks, resulting in the score being 4-2. They played a strong period of hockey, and Hellberg saved 9 shots, which is exactly what they needed from the backup coming into the game after the first.

Third Period

The Red Wings opened the third period strong, with multiple shots on goal in the first five minutes. They controlled the puck well, with Seider doing plenty of work at the blue line to maintain possession.

DeSmith made some huge saves, with the Red Wings pressing extremely hard. Jake Guentzel hit the post off a face-off in their offensive zone, but at the middle of the period, that was what felt like the Penguins’ best chance since the first period.

The Red Wings drew another penalty with just over 10 minutes remaining. This time it was Michael Rasmussen drawing a hook from Guentzel as he entered the zone with possession. Despite getting some excellent chances, thanks to David Perron and Larkin, the Red Wings could not convert. And thanks to the Bally Sports Detroit broadcast, we were informed that 9 of Detroit’s 39 shots had come on the man advantage to this point.

With exactly 5 minutes left, the Red Wings score their third goal of the game. Chiarot was once again the catalyst of this goal, drawing two defenders down the boards, finding Söderblom in the middle, and then “Big Elmer” attempting to defend the puck in the slot had it tipped away by Crosby right to Jonatan Berggren, who scored his fifth goal. Just like that, the score is 4-3.

The Penguins took another penalty, this one being too many men on the ice, and the Red Wings managed to tie the game up! Perron, who has been instrumental in the offense throughout the game, was the beneficiary of a blind Rasmussen pass, and he made no mistake. Despite a poor first-period effort, the Red Wings managed to climb all the way back and even the game at 4-4.

The Red Wings just continued to possess the puck. Even when the Penguins had the puck in their defensive zone for a moment, it felt as if at least one forechecker was on top of them, resulting in a turnover. Thanks to the Perron goal, we head to overtime.

Overtime

The overtime period went back and forth, but the Red Wings came out on top. Their first big chance came on a rebound from a Rasmussen shot that Andrew Copp hit the post on, and then after a big save on a Penguins chance on the other end, Copp found Jake Walman for a tip-in, and he hits the griddy to celebrate!!

An absolutely huge win for the Red Wings coming back from down 4-0 after a bad first period capped by a hilarious celebration from a key defenseman and one that had almost 21 minutes of ice time in the game. Not only do they show resilience as a team, but there were so many individual players that shined in the comeback.