David Perron’s hat trick helped pace the Red Wings past the Penguins

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It’s been a hectic week for general manager Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings. The remaining games almost become an afterthought, but don’t tell that to the players on the ice fighting for their jobs and their next contracts. Detroit had an opportunity to play spoiler Tuesday night against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are in the midst of a playoff race.

Earlier this week, the Red Wings signed defenseman Antti Tuomisto to an entry-level contract beginning in 2022-23. Yzerman followed that up by doing the same with William Wallinder and Carter Mazur.

Assuming the Penguins were overlooking the Red Wings, Detroit ambushed Pittsburgh, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Due to injury, Detroit is without many key pieces, including starting goaltender Ville Husso, forwards Robby Fabbri, Michael Rasmussen, Filip Zadina, defensemen Ben Chariot, plus rookie Simon Edvinsson.

The Detroit Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins behind David Perron’s hat trick.

Rookie forward Jonatan Berggren opened the scoring for the Detroit Red Wings on the power play. It’s the 22-year-old’s first goal since March 2nd against Seattle. The goal barely slid past Casey DeSmith after a gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing sequence from Joe Veleno to Austin Czarnik to Berggren and in.

The Detroit Red Wings continued to pile on in the first period. A mere 34 seconds after Berggren’s goal, Andrew Copp scored his ninth goal of the season as he redirected a Moritz Seider point shot home. DeSmith was screened and had no chance on the play. Detroit continued to build momentum in the first period. Dominik Kubalik was rewarded going to the net as a Gustav Lindstrom point shot appeared to deflect off his backside and past DeSmith to make it 3-0 Detroit in the opening frame. Detroit held a slight edge in shots following the first period, 10-9.

Starting goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic played exceptionally well in the first period and made a glorious highlight reel save on Evgeni Malkin that you must see.

The second period was all Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins struck at the 4:40 mark of the second period, thanks to Jason Zucker. Just before the goal, Nedeljkovic made a big save on Malkin, but the Penguins remained persistent as the Red Wings scrambled, and Zucker ended up as the beneficiary.

Malkin would finally have some revenge on Nedeljkovic at the 7:46 mark of the second period scoring his 26th of the season on a Penguins five-on-three power play. Less than a minute later, on the backend of that power play scaled down to a five-on-four, Jeff Carter scored his 12th of the season. Play went on as Carter gestured that the puck crossed the goal line, and upon review, after the play stopped, he was rewarded. Following that decision, Detroit Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde challenged the goal for goaltender interference.

It appeared the puck was loose under Nedeljkovic’s skate, but as he tried to gather himself in the crease, Zucker pushed his left pad into the net. After review, the officials claimed there was no goaltender interference, and the goal would stand. You don’t see Lalonde angry on the bench very often, but following the call, Lalonde was irate, so much so that he was ejected from the game. Lalonde’s timing is impeccable, with the Detroit Tigers season opener just two days away. Jim Leyland would be so proud.

The second period would end with the teams deadlocked in a 3-3 tie, but the Penguins outshot Detroit to the tune of 14-4, making the game total to this point 23-14 in favor of the Penguins. It seemed Pittsburgh was getting all the calls, and Lalonde just lost it for a good reason. Through two periods of play, the Penguins were awarded five power play opportunities, including the five-on-three in which they scored twice, compared to two extra-man chances for the Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings took over in the third period thanks to a pair of goals from veteran David Perron. It was the ninth hat trick of Perron’s career. Perron scored his 17th of the season and second of the game at the 4:05 mark of the third period and his 18th at 16:20 on the power play. The Penguins got one from Josh Archibald sandwiched in the middle of those Perron tallies, and likely the only one Nedeljkovic would like back. Archibald scored on a wraparound and had Detroit’s netminder looking the wrong way.

Captain Dylan Larkin finished things by scoring his 27th of the season into the empty net to put the Red Wings up 7-4, and that’s how this one would finish. The Red Wings were outshot 39-25. The Red Wings were 47.1% in the faceoff circle tonight and 2-3 on the power play. Detroit was also 4-6 on the penalty kill.

Detroit’s top performers tonight include Perron with the three goals and Nedeljkovic for his 35 saves. Larkin recorded a goal and two assists and now sits with 70 points on the season. Andrew Copp totaled a goal and an assist. Moritz Seider, Jordan Oesterle, and Pius Suter all recorded two assists.

Next up for the Red Wings is a date with the Carolina Hurricanes in Detroit on Thursday evening.

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