It wasn’t the night for the Red Wings to beat their hated Eastern Conference rivals. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury assisted in a 2-0 shutout of Detroit at Joe Louis Arena Wednesday night. Fleury ended the game with 25 saves while Detroit fell silent on offense as the Pittsburgh played a higher degree of hockey.
Jimmy Howard received the nod for the match against the Penguins who like the Red Wings, suffered injuries last season. With most on the healthy side of the game the two teams came into the game matching up well. Detroit put the veteran line out for the opening faceoff as the big players needed to pick up the pace to lead the team. The offense turned up as Detroit took eight shots on goal at the midpoint of the game, but with Fleury in net, the task of scoring wouldn’t come easy. Both goaltenders were showing outstanding defense through the first period as Howard stopped 10 shots while Fleury dealt with the Red Wings 14 on goal.
The Penguins struck first on the scoreboard as Rob Scuderi fired a centering shot only to have it stopped by Howard. Pittsburgh gained the rebound near the net where Blake Comeau scored his first of the preseason at 12:56 in the second period. Things got physical during Pittsburgh’s power-play as the Red Wings protected their players from cheap shots. The Red Wings were clearly being roughed up on the shots on goal ratio where the Penguins outshot them 11-2 halfway through.
Though Detroit took just three shots it was their best scoring chance of the night despite Fleury’s calm goaltending through 40 minutes. The Penguins outshot the Red Wings 26-18 but with Detroit on a power play at the start of the third anything was possible with the one goal margin. The Penguins played hard to keep their lead intact and away from the Red Wings. Six minutes into the third, Pittsburgh made it 2-0 on a goal from Oskar Sundqvist whose centering drive caught Howard off the mark.
With time running out, the Red Wings did everything they could to make the comeback against their biggest rival of the past several years. Tomas Tatar took a hard hit from Comeau at 15:50 sending Tatar off the ice and while handing Detroit a much needed opportunity. It was no use, as the Penguins defense fought the puck out of their zone and killed off Detroit’s last chance. It was time that played the remainder of the game against the Red Wings as they suffered their first shutout at home against a calm and composed goalie.Howard’s night in net concluded with a decent finish making 31 saves.
With two games remaining, the Red Wings will take the day off before heading into Toronto to face the Maple Leafs who will seek revenge after blanking against them on Monday.