Desperate Penguins and Sidney Crosby take it to the Detroit Red Wings

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The Detroit Red Wings entered the day with just four games remaining on their schedule and just officially eliminated from playoff contention had a chance to play spoiler against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins entered Saturday afternoon’s game needing a victory as they sit just one point behind the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders for the final two playoff spots. The Penguins have essentially been playing playoff hockey over the past few weeks. In these circumstances, teams need their stars to rise to the occasion, and that is precisely what Sidney Crosby did Saturday. Crosby scored a pair of goals and added an assist for the Penguins in Pittsburgh’s decisive 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Crosby, public enemy no. 1 in these parts, recorded his 1,500th career point during the game. Crosby became the 15th player in NHL history to reach 1,500 points. He’s also the sixth-fastest player to reach the milestone. The Penguins captain also recently completed his 18th NHL season of averaging at least a point per game. Pretty incredible.

Sidney Crosby pushes the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Detroit Red Wings.

The Penguins opened the scoring thanks to Alex Nylander’s first goal of the season. Nylander is the younger brother to Toronto’s William Nylander. Nylander took a pass from Mikael Granlund, walked into the slot unaccounted for, and snapped a shot past Ville Husso.

The game’s second goal came with less than three seconds remaining in the first period. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman gathered the puck behind the Detroit goal as a Red Wings power play expired and tried to skate it up the middle of the ice through a Jake Guentzel, and Crosby forecheck to no avail. Crosby quickly took the puck and roofed a wicked backhander over a helpless Husso. Walman needs to understand the situation, hammer that puck to the corner or around the dasher, and let the period expire. There was no need to skate that puck to the front of Detroit’s net with a few seconds remaining in the frame. Walman also had an outlet on the wall but elected not to use it.

Danton Heinen put the Penguins up 3- at the 11:16 mark of the second period. It’s Heinen’s seventh goal of the season. The Detroit Red Wings would finally answer a few seconds later at the 11:58 mark of the frame, thanks to a gorgeous passing sequence from Lucas Raymond and Andrew Copp that Pius Suter finished off.

The Detroit Red Wings didn’t provide us with many positive things to say today, but this tic-tac-toe goal is a must-see goal.

Crosby would open the third period scoring with his second goal of the game and 33rd of the season on the power play from Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang. That goal would mark his 1,500th career point, and despite how much we dislike the man, it’s history, and hockey fans like history, so we will put in the video.

Evgeni Malkin closed the scoring by creating a turnover by lifting the stick of Joe Veleno as the Detroit Red Wings looked as though they were going to clear the defensive zone. Malkin took the puck, sent it to Jason Zucker, and drove the net. Zucker ripped a shot that Husso kicked out in front to a waiting Malkin. It would be Malkin’s 26th goal of the season, and get this; Malkin’s 41st point in 27 games against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings went 0-3 on the power play and 3-4 on the penalty kill. Detroit won a whopping 64.6% of the faceoffs and outhit the Penguins 20-8 but was outshot 28-20 in the 5-1 loss.

Next up for the Red Wings is a date with the Dallas Stars on Monday evening. It will be Detroit’s final home game of the season. Detroit heads to Carolina on Tuesday night and will finish their season in Tampa Bay on Thursday evening.

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