Wings bounce back big-time, crunch Penguins

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Pittsburgh — Enough was enough, as far as the Red Wings were concerned.

Maybe Saturday's ugly loss in Philadelphia will prove to be rock bottom, because the Red Wings looked like an entirely different team Sunday in routing the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1.

Not just Sunday, but a different team from the one that had lost four of five heading into the game against Pittsburgh. The Red Wings had been playing without structure and competitiveness.

But all that changed before a national television audience, and against a frustrated Penguins team.

"This was a big win for us after the way we've played lately," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "It was a good start and we scored some goals.

"After the last game we had a players-only meeting and we just said enough is enough; we have to go out and play and enjoy playing. It seemed everyone was a little afraid out there and not embracing it. But today, we did a lot better."

Marek Zidlicky had a goal and two assists, Teemu Pulkkinen had two goals, and Riley Sheahan and Zetterberg had the other goals as the Red Wings (38-19-11, 87 points) earned a much-needed victory.

Goaltender Petr Mrazek stopped 42 shots to earn the victory. David Perron was the lone Penguin to score, midway in the third period.

"He's good and he relishes these opportunities," said coach Mike Babcock of Mrazek. "He thinks he's going to win and he has the capability. We needed a win and we didn't help Howie (Jimmy Howard) last night, but we helped Pete early, and Pete was good."

The Penguins (39-20-10, 88 points) -- playing without star forward Evgeni Malkin (lower body) -- became unraveled and unfocused as the Red Wings took control. Pittsburgh had four 10-minute misconduct penalties and 64 penalty minutes total.

"We didn't focus on them, we focused on us," Zetterberg said. "We've had enough issues lately. We just wanted to come out and have a good start and go from there and that's what we did."

Overcoming some adversity at this point in the schedule isn't entirely a bad thing.

"Everybody goes through some adversity. We were real dialed in and we had great leadership (Sunday)," Babcock said. "For you to win and fight through adversity, you need good leadership and Zetterberg, (Niklas) Kronwall and (Pavel) Datsyuk are as good as it comes.

"We just needed to bounce back."