Penguins top Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is hit from behind by Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin in Detroit's 4-1 victory on Dec. 31

The Penguins outshot Detroit 36-30.

The Red Wings came off their five-day break Saturday with a 4-1 loss to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. "Your game is better, the mood is better, and now were feeling so much better".

With that, the resurgent Penguins suddenly have scored 14 goals in their last three games. Pittsburgh's offensive stars carried the offensive load as the Penguins won for the fourth time in five games. Their three-game winning streak is their longest since they won four in a row from late November into December.

"I think we've felt good about our last couple games going into the break", Crosby said.

With the Rangers coming to town on a quick turn around on Sunday night, will we see Jarry again after a week of rest?

"A day off is always good for me", Malkin said. Jimmy Howard made 32 saves. "Our power play has to be better".

"If we were to get one or two early there, it would have been a lot different, but we didn't", Henrik Zetterberg said.

These teams obviously do plenty of scoring when they meet so I'll ride the over trend... "They scored and took care of business and we didn't".

He scored the overtime victor to beat the Bruins last Sunday in the game before the break started, and he scored again less than four minutes into Saturday's game, converting a Hagelin feed with a shot from the slot.

In the third, Crosby lifted the stick of defender Frans Nielsen just as a backhand pass from Kessel arrived and slipped a power-play shot inside the right post.

Coach Jeff Blashill faulted the team's shooting mentality and power play.

Abdelkader tied it with a shot between Jarry's pads and Kessel gave Pittsburgh the lead when he one-touched a Crosby pass behind Howard from in close. The Wings answered a little over 10 minutes later with Abdelkader's power-play goal.

Detroit had just one power-play goal in its previous seven games entering Saturday's contest. Under is 3-0-1 in Penguins last 4 when their opponent allows 5 goals or more in their previous game and Penguins are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record and under is 4-1-1 in Penguins last 6 games following a win. Malkin has scored in three straight games.

Kessel matched that with a power-play goal of his own with Crosby and Malkin collecting the assists. It was also Albany's best defensive effort in a half this season. The Penguins scratched D Ian Cole, while F David Booth and D Xavier Ouellet sat for the Red Wings.

The Red Wings fell eight points behind Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

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