PITTSBURGH -- One day after the Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins were handed disappointing losses, the Red Wings rebounded and Pittsburgh's skid continued.
Detroit cruised to a 5-1 win Sunday against the Penguins at Consol Energy Center.
The Red Wings (38-19-11) bounced back from a 7-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday to extend their lead on the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division to five points. Pittsburgh (39-20-10) remained five points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers and two behind the second-place New York Islanders.
"We just needed to bounce back. Everybody goes through some adversity," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We were really dialed in. We had great leadership today. For you to win, for you to fight through adversity, you need good leadership. And [Henrik] Zetterberg, and [Niklas] Kronwall and [Pavel] Datsyuk, to me, are as good as it comes.
"All in all, it was a good win for our team. We got a day off [Monday]. We can get our group playing the right way and get after it now."
Pittsburgh played without forward Evgeni Malkin, who sustained a lower-body injury during his first shift of a 2-0 loss to the Bruins on Saturday. Sidney Crosby, who elected not to play against Boston when he did not feel well following pregame warm-ups, was back in the lineup alongside David Perron and Patric Hornqvist and assisted on Pittsburgh's lone goal.
"It's a tough game. We didn't really give ourselves a chance with a tough start," Crosby said. "With penalties and stuff like that, that can't happen this time of year. We have to correct it."
Sheahan scored 1:21 into the game when Marek Zidlicky took a slap shot into traffic and he deflected the shot past Marc-Andre Fleury's glove for his 12th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Pulkkinen made it 2-0 with 1:54 remaining. The puck was sent from Zidlicky to Niklas Kronwall then to Pulkkinen, who one-timed a slap shot past Fleury's blocker and inside the left post.
"When you score goals, you get some confidence," Pulkkinen said. "And I feel better everyday. And it's nice to be here. Everybody helps me a lot, like all of the veteran guys. It's nice to be a part of the group and get some wins and feel good about yourself."
After Pittsburgh center Brandon Sutter was called for tripping late in the first period, Chris Kunitz was assessed a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct after the period was over, giving Detroit 1:48 of a 5-on-3 to start the second.
Zidlicky made the most of the two-man advantage by stepping into a slap shot in the right circle and beating Fleury 39 seconds into the second for a 3-0 lead. Detroit had 1:09 of a 5-on-3 advantage remaining following the goal, followed by 51 seconds of a 5-on-4 power play, but could not add to its lead.
The Red Wings did make it 4-0 at 7:44 when Gustav Nyquist sent a backhand pass to the right of Fleury, and Zetterberg tucked a shot into the net from a tight angle. Thomas Greiss replaced Fleury, who finished with 12 saves on 16 shots, following the goal.
Kris Letang was called for the Penguins' third 10-minute misconduct of the game after Patric Hornqvist was pushed into goalie Petr Mrazek (42 saves) with 9:25 remaining in the second. Steve Downie was called for Pittsburgh's first such offense, with 7:36 left in the first after knocking down a referee. He was called for a second 10-minute misconduct, Pittsburgh's fourth of the game, 5:37 into the third.
Penguins coach Mike Johnston said he has been displeased with Downie's tendency to take unnecessary penalties.
"I met with him before the game tonight and I told him we just can't have that," Johnston said. "That is a concern, for sure. Downie has to play without taking minor penalties, especially obstruction penalties. If you take a penalty where you initiate through physical play or something like that, we can accept that. And he knows that.
"He just can't take those types of penalties. And then when he does take a penalty or something bad happens in a game, he just can't let it go further. I thought he came out of the box and he had a couple good shifts for us. That's what he has to do. And then he just goes back and he takes a [10-minute misconduct]. So I didn't like that at all. He knows that."
Christian Ehrhoff appeared to cut the Red Wings' lead to three goals at 9:28 of the second period, but the goal was disallowed after the officials ruled that Hornqvist interfered with Mrazek.
"It felt great to bounce back after the game; the last time I played here I didn't finish the game and that was the last game before I was sent down," Mrazek said. "So, it's nice to bounce back after that … If you feel pressure, it's not good. You have to stay positive all the time and the team too. So, you get frustrated sometimes when you can't score. And when everything's going, everything's going.
"You have to just battle hard and come back."
Pulkkinen made it 5-0 at 3:02 of the third period. Perron scored the Penguins' lone goal at 9:10.
Hornqvist left the game late in the third period with an unspecified injury. Johnston said Hornqvist's injury seemed bad when he left the ice, and that he will be further evaluated and more information could be provided Monday.