Penguins' defense falters, comeback bid all for naught in road loss to Red Wings
Published in Hockey
DETROIT — Luck was on Casey DeSmith’s side for the first eight minutes. He would’ve needed a four-leaf clover pinned to his uniform to keep Detroit’s David Perron and company in check.
In his third straight start, DeSmith gave up six goals, including three in the first frame and a hat trick to Perron in the third in the Penguins’ 7-4 loss to the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Perron scored two go-ahead goals, the latter of which was the game-winner before tacking on a clincher that incited caps to fall from the stands.
DeSmith initially benefited from some good fortunes, as shots from Detroit’s Olli Maatta and Dylan Larkin that sneaked past him clanked off iron and stayed out of the net. But DeSmith’s luck lasted only so long; as Mark Friedman sat with the second of his two first-period penalties, the Red Wings’ Jonatan Berggren sneaked the biscuit through DeSmith’s five-hole.
Andrew Copp doubled the Red Wings’ advantage 34 seconds later, tipping in a Moritz Seider shot from the point over DeSmith’s right shoulder and in. Pierre-Olivier Joseph was looking for Jake Guenzel to start a breakout, but the latter couldn’t corral the pass and the puck wound up on Seider’s twig.
Another blue-liner bomb went past DeSmith later in the frame, courtesy of Gustav Lindstrom. The third-line defenseman walked in and fired a shot off Friedman’s behind and into the net, upping the home team’s advantage to three before the first intermission.
The Penguins did not go down easily, however. Jason Zucker, who had cooled after a scorching start to March, punched in a rebound off a Rickard Rakell shot to trim the Penguins’ deficit to 3-1 early in the second period. Jake Guentzel took advantage of a Penguins 5-on-3, deflecting in an Evgeni Malkin slot shot following two Detroit penalties to make it a 3-2 game.
Detroit’s first penalty burned, the Penguins then notched another power-play goal, this time from Jeff Carter, but the score wasn’t confirmed until after much controversy. There was no goal call on the ice initially, but replay review showed the puck indeed trickled past the goal line; Detroit netminder Alex Nedeljkovic inadvertently pushed Carter’s deflection past the red line of demarcation in with his left skate.
Carter’s goal was ruled a good one, but Detroit coach Derek Lalonde challenged the play for goalie interference by Zucker. The call on the ice held and the Penguins had completed a three-goal comeback, setting the stage for a thrilling finish.
The Red Wings briefly avenged their blown lead when Perron sniped early in the third period, putting the Red Wings back on top 4-3. Josh Archibald made sure that advantage didn’t last for long, though, scoring on a wraparound goal for his second score of the month and sixth of the year to draw the tally back even at four apiece.
Perron took over from there, notching two more goals before Larkin put in an empty-netter.
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