PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 13: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his first period goal with James Neal #18 and Chris Kunitz #14 against the Detroit Red Wings during the game at Consol Energy Center on December 13, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Pavel Datsyuk tied it up for the Wings on what was just a beautiful backhand goal. One of those things that's hard to admit but even harder to argue against. Although admittedly it didn't seem like all hope was lost for Pittsburgh at this point, as they managed to squeak out of the first 40 minutes of play with a 1-1 draw.
However Johan Franzen's power-play goal in the third handed Detroit the lead, Danny Cleary's goal put it out of reach and Cleary's empty-netter with six seconds remaining simply added insult to injury.
Not an exciting game, but at least one that moved without many interruptions. The two teams combined for six PP opportunities, with Pittsburgh taking the bulk of them with four total tries. Yet the Pens were unable to convert on any chances, while Detroit buried one of its two courtesy of Franzen.
Pittsburgh's penalty kill remains third best in the league, as the Pens have killed off 87.5% of man advantages this season. This will, in my opinion, stand as the make or break point while some of the big guns remain out with injuries. It's bad enough some teams can be a handful, but it's even harder to give those good teams even the slightest advantage outside of that. Ideally the Pens will stick to a similarly well-disciplined style that we saw tonight, albeit one with a little more clout on the PK.
Pens are on the road in Ottawa Friday night.