Pens surge past Wings despite key injuries

Jeff Zatkoff stood tall in net for a banged-up Penguins team.

Jeff Zatkoff stood tall in net for a banged-up Penguins team.

It was almost five years ago that the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings to win their first Stanley Cup in 17 years, however after watching last night’s game, it doesn’t appear that the crowd art Joe Louis Arena has lost any animosity towards captain Sidney Crosby and the Pens.

Crosby and teammate Evgeni Malkin each garnered a healthy smattering of boo’s every time they touched the puck in last night’s 4-1 victory in Detroit, the hatred amplified by Crosby’s two goals and Malkin’s goal and two assist’s.

It was a marquee win for the Penguins over the Wings, a team in it’s first year of play in the Eastern Conference, and one that could very likely be facing Pittsburgh in the playoffs come March.

Lets look at some of the highlights of the game:

Injuries: 

Any more, the list of Pittsburgh players on injured reserve is enough to make a pretty damn good top power-play unit on just about every other team in the league.  Defenseman Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, and Rob Scuderi have all been sidelined for various amounts of time with injuries, with Orpik’s concussion after being assaulted by the Bruins’ Shawn Thornton being the most recent. Add to that list, at least for the time being, both Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.  Malkin appeared to injure his leg after sliding awkwardly into the boards on a back check, while Letang was alate scratch due to an undisclosed upper-body injury.  After the game it was reported that Malkin was walking around with only a slight limp, which is a good sign, however we won’t know for sure until they are both evaluated further on Monday.

Add the suspended James Neal to the list of subtractions, and the Pens are without their top four defenseman, as well as two of their top-six forwards.

Deryk Engelland will most likely be suspended for this hit:

 

While it may not have been Engelland’s intention to hit Abdelkader in the head, it’s still a dangerous play that left him injured.  Engelland attempts to play the puck, then suddenly leans up into Abdelkader and catches him right on the chin with a shoulder.

Given that Engelland is  repeat offender and has history of supplemental discipline, I’d have to think that this will be at least a four or five game suspension, further depleting the Penguins already sparse blue line.

Jeff Zatkoff:

Finally, on a more positive not, back-up goalie Jeff Zatkoff stood tall in net, stopping 28 of 29 shots to earn his fifth win of the season, starting in part because he was playing close to his home town of Sterling Heights, Michigan.  After giving up a goal to Henrik Zetterberg early in the first period, Zatkoff rebounded well, stopping everything that was throne at him afterwards.