DETROIT -- The Red Wings are used to losing at home this season, but Saturday night's schooling looked especially bad.
A pair of power-play goals in the first period led to an eventual 4-1 loss to one of their best rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Wings are 5-7-6 at Joe Louis Arena as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning today.
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Olli Maatta scored after Niklas Kronwall had given the Wings a 1-0 lead. Crosby netted his second goal with about 5 minutes to go in the third period.
Coach Mike Babcock didn't mince words, calling out the Wings' power-play personnel -- who were 0-for-5 even after one man advantage lasted 5 minutes -- for passing the puck around on the outside and merely killing time.
"Their big guys were better than our big guys," Babcock said. "To me, they skated us. We can talk about who's not in our lineup. They were without their top four D. They played yesterday. They came into our building, and they left happy. Not good enough."
Already without five regulars, the Wings lost another player when Justin Abdelkader left late in the first period after Deryk Engelland laid a shoulder into Abdelkader's jaw. Abdelkader had to be helped off the ice. "We've got a lot of guys out," Babcock said. "We didn't need to lose Abby, he's a big, heavy body for us."
Babcock didn't have an update on Abdelkader other than to infer it might be a concussion, saying, "it takes protocol." Players have to be symptom-free for a week before returning from such injuries.
Engelland -- who is certain to face a suspension of at least two games -- received a match penalty, giving the Wings a 5-minute power play that spilled over by 4:30 into the second period. Teams usually salivate to start a period with a man advantage, because it means fresh ice. Other than Gustav Nyquist, the Wings didn't show much playing with an extra skater that long. Backup Jeff Zatkoff ended up making six saves during the stretch.
"We didn't do enough with it," Babcock said. "I thought we had some looks, but I didn't think we were dangerous enough."
Kronwall had made it 1-0 when his shot from the blue line went in off Crosby's stick. Crosby and Malkin replied before the first period ended, taking advantage of a couple of Wings penalties.
"Their power play is fantastic," Brendan Smith said. "We needed to shut that down and we didn't. And they got the momentum from that, getting up a few goals. I'm not sure what the numbers are with how much specialty teams took place in the game, but it felt like a lot."
The Wings had a 26-13 advantage in shots after 40 minutes, but they were trapped into getting just three more shots in the third period, as the Penguins protected their lead. They built on it with 5 minutes to play, when Chris Conner, one of the smallest players in the NHL, outworked one of the tallest, Jonathan Ericsson, along the boards, getting the puck to Crosby.
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