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Penguins/Red Wings Recap: Pittsburgh hangs 11 goals on Detroit

The Pens score early, often and run away with a massive 11-2 blowout win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings. Evgeni Malkin returns to the lineup with a hat trick.

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

After being disappointed with their efforts and result on Friday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins left no doubt with their response as a follow-up. And while the Detroit Red Wings don’t represent an extremely tough challenge, the Pens’ flex of their offensive might was impressive in its own way.

The scoring started just 4:16 in, with Kasperi Kapanen being granted plenty of time to deke around and tuck in the first of many goals for the home team.

Detroit would go 10 minutes without giving up a goal, which didn’t seem like much of an accomplishment at the time but turned out to be pretty good. The Pittsburgh fourth line chipped in with a massive goal, initiated when veteran Brian Boyle dumped rookie Moritz Seider and the play went the other way. The Pens would get...a skill play from the fourth line? That’s a new one this year, with Radim Zohorna making a really nice pass on a 2-on-1 to Teddy Blueger who completed an even nicer finish. 2-0

In the second period the Red Wings took the game’s first penalty, and Evgeni Malkin responded with the game’s first power play goal just four seconds into it. 3-0.

After that, the Pens took a penalty — but still scored a shorthanded goal anyways, because that’s just the day it was. Nice advancing pass by John Marino to get the party started on this one and then Big Jeff Carter snaps it home. 4-0, and though much more was to come at this point the game felt over even 23:18 into it. The Red Wings pull Alex Nedeljkovic at this point.

The Pens tacked on another power play goal 5:57 into the second, already their third goal in the middle period. Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust make an absolute mockery of the Detroit PK with passes to and fro, Rust finally finishes. 5-0.

Malkin continues to pour it on with his second goal of the game, dancing around and through any Red Wing in his way and then getting the finish. 6-0.

At this point, it looked like the Pens were about done and starting to take their foot off the gas. But Dylan Larkin and Jakub Vrana scored for Detroit to pull the score to 6-2. Almost if sensing to really leave no doubt, Crosby scored before the end of the active second period to extend the lead to 7-2 and extinguish any doubt about this one. (Remember that Devils game last year when a big Pittsburgh lead disappeared? Not happening today with a goal like this).

In the third, the second power play got in on the act. Danton Heinen had some time on the right side so he snapped a shot high to get the lead to 8-2 with 17:54 left.

Malkin completed his hat trick off a nice tic-tac-toe from Kris Letang and Bryan Rust. 9-2.

Brian Boyle scores from in front off a rebound to get the Pens to double digits in a game for the first time since November 1st 1995.

With the team riding out the clock, Rickard Rakell snipes his first goal as a Penguin to tack on an 11th goal. Why not?

Mercifully the game ends at this point before anymore damage can be done.

Some thoughts

  • Incredible game. 16/18 skaters recorded a point for the Pens (only Brian Dumoulin and Marcus Pettersson were held off the score sheet). Three players had two points (Marino, Heinen, Carter). Five players had three points (Rakell, Letang, Rust, Crosby, Blueger). Malkin led the way with four points.
  • Rakell was posted up in front of the goal for a couple of the goals (Heinen, Malkin’s third). That’s a part of his game I didn’t really know about, and he’s not going to confuse anyone for his countryman in Patric Hornqvist for dogged determination around the net, but it’s been nice to see Rakell set effective screens. And late in the game that shot he unleashed was a thing of beauty and showed why he was brought to the Pens. Next time he scores late in the third, it will likely mean something more.
  • Since coming back from a broken jaw, Blueger had no goals and one assist in nine games. To be expected, certainly, but today was a nice breakout for him with 1G+2A. The goal early on was an important one too before things got silly and everyone was racking up points.
  • After being sick on Friday and missing practice yesterday, Malkin returned with a vengeance today. He didn’t have to fight through a ton, but he made his opportunities count and notched his first hat trick since 2018.
  • Malkin also ended up credited with the game winning goal, #77 of his career. That ranks one behind Jaromir Jagr for the top spot in Pens’ history.
  • It was the first time since 1988 that Detroit has given up 11 goals. For the Pens, it was the fourth game in franchise history with 11+ goals, and the first time since 1993.
  • Per Bob Grove, the best home win in franchise history will still remain a 12-1 victory over Washington in 1975, but it wasn’t for a lacking of trying today.
  • Tough look for Detroit, who played yesterday. That kind of stuff can add up, usually not to this degree. But when a strong team is rested and looking to rebound from a bad outing against a poor team playing the same goalie on consecutive days, bad things are going to happen. Usually not like this, of course.

But like this was how it went. A blowout to the extent that rarely ever happens in the NHL, but every once in a while the planets align just right to see something that you haven’t seen before and wouldn’t predict. 11-2 win, who would have known? Not a bad day’s work for the Pens to get their mojo back and not have too much of a challenge before one of the most important games of the season coming up on Tuesday night at home against the Rangers.