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Red Wings outlast Crosby-less Pens

Dec 14, 2011 - 5:03 AM
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Danny Cleary scored twice during a three- goal third period, as the Detroit Red Wings downed the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-1, Tuesday at CONSOL Energy Center.

Johan Franzen also scored during the third and Pavel Datsyuk added a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, who have won three straight and eight of 10.

Jimmy Howard made 25 saves, stopping all 20 shots he faced over the final two periods, to earn the win.

"We're playing well," said Howard. "We're keeping it simple and we're in the right spots out there."

Evgeni Malkin had a goal and Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves for the Penguins.

They have dropped three of their last four and are 1-2 over their last three games without Sidney Crosby, who has been out since colliding with teammate Chris Kunitz in a December 5 loss to the Bruins.

This was the fifth meeting between the teams since the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, which the Penguins won in a Game 7 at Detroit.

Last year, despite losing Crosby to season-ending post-concussion symptoms, the Penguins took a pair of games from the Red Wings in the latter portion of the year.

Crosby returned from injury with a vengeance on November 21, but last Monday's collision with Kunitz prompted a precautionary move to the bench.

Still, the Penguins were ahead early Tuesday in their only scheduled meeting with the Penguins this season, as Malkin beat Howard with a wrister in the waning seconds of the opening period.

But Detroit tied the contest with 3:59 left in the second, as Todd Bertuzzi stole the puck with a forecheck behind the Pens' net and fed Datsyuk in front for a high wrister past Fleury.

Franzen notched the game-winner on a power play 5:15 into the third. He launched a wrister as he was being hit by Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke. The puck weaved through traffic and found the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.

Cleary then sealed the win, scoring off a pass from Chris Conner on a 3-on-2 break with 4:24 left before adding an empty-netter in the closing seconds.

"We had a couple mistakes, the last 10 minutes we played bad, and we had no chance to win," said Malkin

Game Notes

Pittsburgh had beaten Detroit in four of the previous six regular-season meetings...The Red Wings downed the Penguins in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals in six games...Crosby tallied 12 points in his brief return from November 21- December 5.