PITTSBURGH – The booing, the chanting, the taunting. Marian Hossa heard it all before quieting Pittsburgh’s fans by doing what he did so often for the Penguins during last season’s playoffs: scoring an important goal.
Pavel Datsyuk scored twice while Hossa got the pivotal second goal midway through the third period and Ty Conklin shut out his former Penguins teammates, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-0 victory Sunday in their first visit to Pittsburgh since winning the Stanley Cup there in June.
Datsyuk’s power-play goal at 10:08 of the second period came after the Penguins squandered three opportunities with the man advantage in the first. Conklin didn’t need much help after that, turning aside all 25 Pittsburgh shots.
Datsyuk added his 22nd goal of the season with 2:12 remaining, after Hossa’s goal 6 1/2 minutes earlier all but sealed the Red Wings’ fourth consecutive win.
Hossa, who angered Penguins fans by turning down an estimated US$40 million more from Pittsburgh in an extended contract to sign a one-year deal with Detroit, skated down the right-wing boards before changing directions. Shedding forward Jordan Staal, Hossa got off a backhand shot from the slot that eluded goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
“I tried to put everything on the backhand I had and I tried to shoot it pretty quick,” Hossa said. “I was just hoping it would get there. It kind of surprised me (it went in).”
There were three defenders between Hossa and the net but that didn’t stop him from scoring his 30th goal and sixth during Detroit’s win streak, which followed an 0-4-1 slide.
“If you give him a second in the slot, he’s going to make a great play,” Penguins defenceman Kris Letang said.
Hossa was booed loudly whenever he stepped on the ice during the first two periods, and some in the sellout crowd of 17,132 once chanted, “Traitor, traitor.”
“I guess we expected them to boo him a little bit but, man, that was vicious at times,” Conklin said.
Hossa, who quickly became a fan favourite in Pittsburgh after being dealt at the trading deadline last year, used the fan reaction as motivation. Hossa was a key player during the Penguins’ Stanley Cup run with 12 goals and 14 assists in 20 games.
“These are great hockey fans, and they show you their emotions,” Hossa said. “Once or twice in your career you’ve got these games, so basically you try to enjoy it because this doesn’t happen often.
“You try to use their energy to your advantage.”
The Red Wings, following up an 8-3 win over Edmonton on Saturday, played like they did in beating Pittsburgh in the six-game finals. They prevented Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby from taking over the game, limited the Penguins’ scoring chances and repeatedly got their sticks on shots before they reached the net.
Conklin did the rest.
“There were no second chances,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “They cleared the net really well.
“They have some world-class players and they know how to play the game really well.”
Malkin, the NHL’s leading scorer, was scoreless on four shots, with Conklin making a key glove-hand stop against him during a power play in the first. Crosby, No. 2 in scoring, didn’t get off his lone shot until late in the third.
“We kept them on the outside,” defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom said. “They’ve got a lot of speed up front.
“When we have the puck in their end, we tried to hang onto it and make them play defence.”
Detroit came in with the NHL’s worst road penalty-killing percentage (73.4), but the Penguins were 0-for-4 on the power play.
“There are going to be days when they don’t go in and you still got to find a way to win,” Crosby said.
Conklin got far less attention than Hossa after leaving Pittsburgh to sign with Detroit. But he has been an important addition to the Red Wings by outplaying starter Chris Osgood, going 18-7-1 with six shutouts.
Conklin helped save the Penguins’ season a year ago after Fleury went down for two months with a high ankle sprain, finishing with an 18-8-5 record and 2.51 goals-against average.
The Penguins, two points out of the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, lost their fourth in six games.
Notes: Pittsburgh won 7-6 in Detroit on Nov. 11. … The Red Wings also shut out the Penguins 2-0 in their previous regular-season game in Pittsburgh, on Oct. 7, 2006. Detroit is 6-2 in Pittsburgh during the regular season since 2001-’02…. Steelers owner Dan Rooney, sitting in a private box, drew big cheers when he was shown on the video board. … Datsyuk’s first goal was set up by Henrik Zetterberg, who scored the final goal of Detroit’s 3-2 win in the decisive Game 6 on June 4.