Red Wings lift their 'compete level,' ambush Penguins

Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News


Detroit — Home ice hasn’t always been sweet for the Red Wings this season but it was on Saturday.

Returning home after nearly three weeks of being on the road, the Red Wings rallied to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3.

The Red Wings roared back from a 2-0 deficit with three-goal second and third periods, ambushing the defending Stanley Cup champions.

“I liked our compete level,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Abby (Justin Abdelkader) set the tone early with (Evgeni) Malkin (matching crosschecking penalties), Abby was excellent tonight, and there were parts of the game we played real well.

“But the No. 1 thing, our compete level was real high.”

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 6, Penguins 3

Andreas Athanasiou, Mike Green (power play) and Henrik Zetterberg scored third-period goals, breaking a 3-3 tie, and goalie Jared Coreau (28 saves) made it hold up.

The Red Wings (18-19-6) ended a three-game winless streak, while Pittsburgh (26-11-5) has lost three straight.

“It was fun being at home, it’s been awhile,” Zetterberg said. “We played decent at home in front of our fans and got two points.”

Athanasiou’s goal will be on every highlight package for the next few days.


Athanasiou took the puck near the end boards, skated all the way up ice, slipped the puck through defenseman Justin Schultz, and flipped the puck over goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for a goal that’ll be on every hockey play of the year competition.

The goal, Athanasiou’s ninth, gave the Red Wings a 4-3 lead just 1:46 into the third period.

“I picked up the puck and saw some open ice,” Athanasiou said. “I just took the open ice, came out of the blue line and made a one-on-one move and it worked out well.

“It’s always a nice feeling to see the puck go in the net, in a 3-3 game against a real good team.”

Said Blashill: “AA has the ability to break people down and score goals on his own. It’s hard to score goals in this league and when you get somebody who can self-create and do it on his own, it’s a big thing.”

An apparent Pittsburgh tying goal by David Warsofsky, on a shot from inside the blue line, was disallowed upon video replay because of goalie interference — Evgeni Malkin pushing Justin Abdelkader into Coreau.

“We didn’t see it that way but they’re the referees and we have to live by it,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It’s a big turning point but we have to continue to play.”


Green extended the lead to 5-3 with his eighth goal at 11:51. After the Red Wings wasted a 1:34 two-man advantage, Green scored with just two seconds left on the 5-on-4 power play, for the 2-goal lead.

Gustav Nyquist, Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen had second-period goals.

Nielsen tied it 3-3 with 56 seconds left in the second period, tipping a shot-pass from Mike Green, Nielsen cutting to the net.

“We battled hard,” Nyquist said. “That was a huge goal at the end of the period for us, tying it by Nielsen.”

Kris Letang, Malkin and Matt Cullen (power play) scored for the Penguins.

Letang scored his fourth goal, just 27 seconds into the game, then left shortly afterwards after twisting his left knee getting tangled with Vanek.

Letang came back for one shift, but returned to the locker room. Sullivan had no update after the game.