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Win over Pens proves Wings are back

Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 4:14 PM ET / News
By Phil Coffey
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Win over Pens proves Wings are back
Joe Louis Arena looked, well, normal Monday night as the Red Wings put on a performance their fans had been accustomed to seeing.

A 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins conjured memories of the last two Stanley Cup Finals as the two clubs battled like the Cup again was on the line.

Thanks to a rash of injuries and slumps this season, that hasn't always been the case for the Wings. Now, however, with the bulk of the lineup healthier than any other time this season and players like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk again looking like All-Stars, the Wings are on the upswing.

Zetterberg scored twice and did yeoman's work shutting down a frustrated Sidney Crosby to pace the win. Goalie Jimmy Howard stepped in and applied the old face wash when Crosby went after Zetterberg at the end of the game. And the crowd loved it all.

"This was the way we like it," Zetterberg told reporters. "It was loud and every time you go onto the ice the crowd is with you. It was like a playoff game."

As for Howard, he is the latest in line, following Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood, of goaltenders who ride to the rescue when a teammate is in trouble.

"Just helping a teammate, that's all," Howard aw-shucks-ed later. "It's become quite a rivalry and we have to stick together out there."

As for Crosby's crosscheck to Zetterberg, Howard said, "He does that all the time and somehow he gets away with it."

"Just a lot of feeling and a lot of emotion after a game, nothing more," Zetterberg said. "If it was reversed, I probably would have done the same thing."

In the standings, the win was important for the Wings, who are 9-2-1 in their last dozen and moved four points ahead of Calgary for eighth in the West and within four points of the fifth spot.

"This is the best run we've been on all year," coach Mike Babcock said. "We're desperate to try to get into the playoffs. We've got proud players who've done a lot of winning over a long time here and we'd all like to be in the tournament, and we think we'll have a shot if we get in.

"We had a real good team effort here tonight, and I thought the goaltending was strong. All in all, a good game and a good win for us."

"You've got to give credit to the Red Wings for the way they played tonight," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma acknowledged. "They battled. They were a desperate team. I think our level, as far as desperation, needs to go up."

WELL SAID: "It's irrelevant who we play, pretty much. We've got to take care of business because we need every point we can get. But we (Wings and Penguins) are two teams that have been to the Stanley Cup Finals the last two years in a row, and pretty much whenever we meet, it's a great game." -- Wings goalie Jimmy Howard



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89