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Wings-Pens rivalry continues to grow

Late scrum helps re-ignite hatred between last two Cup champions

Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 2:27 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Wings-Pens rivalry continues to grow
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DETROIT – Not even a day has past since the Red Wings hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins, and players and the media were still discussing the shenanigans which occurred at the end of the game.

“It was nothing much, I really didn’t even do much,” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said after Tuesday’s practice. “It was just a face-wash. I don’t know – I was just helping out Z.”

Howard came to Henrik Zetterberg’s rescue after Penguins center Sidney Crosby cross-checked the Wings’ forward more than a few times in front of the Wings’ net. Howard got involved when he grabbed Crosby from behind and slapped his catching glove into Crosby’s face.

All three players involved received two-minute roughing minors.

The Wings picked up a decisive 3-1 win that solidified their position in the Western Conference playoff race standings, and avenged a 2-1 shootout loss in Pittsburgh on Jan. 31.

It was the latest chapter in the rapidly growing rivalry between the last two Stanley Cup champions. The Wings and Penguins have met 13 times at the highest stage of hockey over the past two years, and both teams have been on the winning – and losing – side.

After the game, Crosby said that he was surprised to find Howard in the middle of the fray.

“I don’t know what he was doing,” Crosby said. “It’s one of those things, a couple players battling at the end. I don’t know what he’s doing. He knew the linesman was in there, so whether he wanted a free shot or not, I don’t know. But I don’t think that’s any place for him to really be.”

The Wings’ rookie goalie said he appreciated how Monday’s win was a team effort, and a team effort to stand-up for one another at the end of the game.

“It was a great win for us,” Howard said. “(Crosby) was sort of taking some liberties at Z there, and it was sort of nice how it wasn’t just me, it was all five guys on the ice, everyone came and helped Z out, it just shows people how much of a team we are.”

Howard was surprised when members of the media pointed out that the face-wash has aided in his rise to a fan favorite in Detroit. Wings coach Mike Babcock said that fans should focus more on his ability to stop the puck.

“If I’m a fan, and you watch him stop the puck every night, that the part that should have you excited about him,” Babcock said. “He’s not going to make a whole lot of money in his life brawling, but if he stops the puck, that will be a positive thing for us and for him.

“In saying that, standing up for your teammates is always a good thing. I don’t think it was any big deal either way. One team won, the other team didn’t. One team’s frustrated, the other one’s not. It’s just all part of hockey. If it’s good for the fans and gets them excited, all be it.”

When asked about his overall thoughts about the Penguins’ captain, Howard pointed out that he was with the Wings during the last two playoffs as a member of the team’s AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.

“It’s undeniable how much talent and how good he is as a hockey player and everything like that,” Howard said. “But it’s also turned into quite the rivalry.”


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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