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Pens/Red Wings Recap: It's so cold in the D

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The Pens take a 2-0 lead, but then give up 6 of the next 7 goals to fall 6-3 in Detroit. Quite the ugly game including an injury to Kris Letang, but let's recap it anyways.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame

The defense gets shuffled up, with Steve Oleksy taking a seat in the press box after a couple of rocky games and David Warsofsky gets in his 5th NHL game of the season (and first since October 29). The pairings are also reshuffled with Ian Cole getting his first crack in a long time as a Kris Letang partner, Warsofsky playing with Justin Schultz and the reuniting of the Olli Maatta - Trevor Daley duo that haven't quite worked as well as hoped.

1st period

Just 27 seconds into the game, Letang puts the Pens on the board, placing a perfect shot in the corner. 1-0.

Then just a few minutes later, Letang appears to catch a rut in the ice and goes down awkwardly, leaves the ice putting little-to-no weight on his left leg. Letang is able to return for one 17 second shift where he looked uncomfortable and then left for good.

Almost look like his knee starts to bend outwards instead of in like it's supposed to. Tough to say just based on this, but this certainly doesn't look great.

Shots 12-10 Detroit

2nd period

The defensive alertness of Thomas Vanek and Mike Green (lol) costs the Red Wings a goal, Vanek goes to pass it to Green, he somehow doesn't receive the pass and it ends up on the stick of Carl Hagelin. Hagelin takes the gift and quickly passes to Malkin who's all alone and for his part quickly shoots 5-hole to make it 2-0.

Detroit gets on the board, Gutav Nyqvist takes a shot that unfortunately changes direction on Schultz's foot and gets in the net. 2-1.

Marc-Andre Fleury puck playing misadventures, chapter 827 happens with a turnover and Vanek gets a gift to tie the game at 2.

Matt Cullen pushes the Pens back in front (with an assist from Jonathan Ericsson swatting the puck in accidentally).

Detroit fights back and ties the game again with Green making a nice shot-pass to Frans Nielsen who eludes Malkin and Fleury for the equalizer.

Shots even at 23, and goals even at 3.

3rd period

Bad start, Andreas Athanasiou with a wonderful individual effort to get by Hagelin and Schultz for the first Detroit lead of the night. 4-3.

Warsofsky scores but wait, ruled no-goal due to Malkin knocking a Red Wing into the goalie, so the score remains 4-3.

But not for long, Detroit gets a 5v3, can't score, eventually turns into a 5v4 and Fleury can't reach to cover the puck on a scramble, which comes back to bite when Green scores soon after. 5-3.

Henrik Zetterberg scores to make it 6-3. This is only GIF I could find, and the only one you really need at this point.

Some Thoughts

  • After Letang's injury the Penguins had no choice but to put a lot of Justin Schultz's plate and he didn't come through. On ice for the first 4 goals against and not looking particularly good on any of them, sort of seemed like for the first time in a long time that he regressed to 2013, 14-ish Schultz.
  • Losing a defenseman in the first period always sucks. Losing THE defenseman makes it that much worse. The Pens tried to hang tough but that's a tough one to take.
  • Don't know what it is about playing against Detroit (especially IN Detroit) but it always brings out the feistiness in Malkin. Lots of post-whistle scrums.
  • The game really turned when the goal that could have made it 4-4 was disallowed and then DET scored next. Can't really argue the call too much, but it was a pivotal point.
  • Chris Kunitz only played 12:32 tonight and just 9:58 was at even (only 4th liners Wilson and Kuhnhackl had less at ES on the team). Will the letter on the chest limit him from being a scratch?
  • Very quiet night for Nick Bonino too (just 1 SOG, only 36% in faceoffs). As often, wish you would have gotten a little more from him this year too.
  • The Pens also got 4 power plays (all in the 2nd period) and could only get the one goal, kind of fluky too with Ericsson accidentally helping it in his own net, and didn't really look dangerous on any of the others. Coulda/Shoulda/Woulda put their foot down on Detroit's throat there and scored more when they had those golden chances.
  • Detroit was 25th in the league with 2.38 goals per game coming into the night. Letting them more than double that obviously is a pretty poor effort. Pittsburgh isn't built to defend and Letang's absence loomed large, but that's still not good.

At the end of the day, a bad collapse and an 0-3 road trip for the Pens. They haven't done this under Sullivan so it'll be interesting to see what buttons he does (or doesn't) push to switch things up.

The path ahead doesn't get any easier, and maybe that's for the best to help focus a team that needs it at this point. Washington (on an 8 game win streak, and a big win against the Pens last week) come to town on Monday.