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PITTSBURGH – Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice for the first multigoal game of his career and the Detroit Red Wings thrashed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Sunday.
Marek Zidlicky added a goal and two assists for the Red Wings. Henrik Zetterberg and Riley Sheahan also scored for Detroit, which bounced back from a dismal loss in Philadelphia on Saturday. Petr Mrazek made 42 saves for his first win in over a month.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped just 12 of the 16 shots before being pulled in the second period as the Penguins lost their second straight.
David Perron scored his 17th of the season for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby picked up an assist after missing Saturday's loss to Boston due to an illness, but the Penguins mustered little flow without center Evgeni Malkin, who is out indefinitely with a lower body injury.
The Red Wings came in struggling, losing four of five and getting rolled 7-2 in Philadelphia on Saturday. On the other side of Pennsylvania, 24 hours later, they found a rhythm early against the Penguins.
Pittsburgh entered the weekend with momentum and a chance to keep pace with the New York Rangers and New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division only to spend six periods getting outplayed on home ice by a pair of teams clamoring for playoff position.
Sheahan gave Detroit the lead 1:21 into the game by deflecting a Marek Zidlicky slapshot from the point by a well-screened Fleury. Pulkkinen made it 2-0 late in the period when he buried a one-timer from the left circle over the goaltender's right shoulder at the end of a dominant shift in which Pittsburgh couldn't seem to get out of its own way.
Trailing early, Pittsburgh's frustration bubbled over. Chris Kunitz drew a roughing call with 52 seconds left in the first, and the veteran forward added a 10-minute misconduct and an unsportsmanlike minor for squabbling with officials at the end of the period. The NHL's top power play used the ensuing 5-on-3 to push Detroit's advantage to 3-0 just 39 seconds into the second on a Zidlicky slapshot.
Pittsburgh's miscues kept coming. At one point there were five Penguins stuffed into the penalty box for various reasons. When Zetterberg tapped in a pretty pass from Gustav Nyquist — who stepped in front of a Pittsburgh clearing attempt and zig-zagged his way to the front of the net — the Red Wings were up 4-0, Fleury's day was over and Detroit's nightmarish afternoon in Philadelphia the day before was a distant memory.
Mrazek's steady play made sure the massive advantage stood up. Officials waved off a power-play goal by Pittsburgh's Christian Ehrhoff midway through the second due to interference and the Penguins never threatened to make it interesting.
Pulkkinen's second goal epitomized his day — and Pittsburgh's, too. The 23-year-old broke his stick sending a shot toward Penguins backup goaltender Thomas Greiss only to see it deflect off two Penguins and skitter into the net.
NOTES: Fleury fell to 12-2-2 against the Atlantic Division this season. ... Penguins F Steve Downie received two 10-minute misconducts as well as a minor for cross checking to boost his season penalty minute total to 221, tops in the NHL. Downie is the first Pittsburgh player to go over 200 penalty minutes in a season since Rick Tocchet and Ulf Samuelsson both did it in 1992-93. ... The Red Wings went 1 for 4 with the power play. The Penguins were 0 for 4. ... Detroit travels to Florida to play the Panthers on Thursday. ... Pittsburgh begins a three-game road trip on Tuesday in New Jersey.