AP Sports Writer
6:49 PM PDT, March 22, 2010
DETROIT (AP) — Henrik Zetterberg scored his second goal early in the third period and had an assist, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night.
Valtteri Filppula scored in the final minute of the first period and Jimmy Howard finished with 26 saves for the surging Red Wings.
Pascal Dupuis pulled Pittsburgh within a goal late in the second period and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 shots.
A lot more was at stake the last time the past two NHL champions met in Joe Louis Arena. The Penguins hoisted the Stanley Cup on June 12, 2009 after Game 7 to deny Detroit's quest to repeat.
The Red Wings, though, padded their lead for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs with their fifth win in six games.
During the final seconds, Sidney Crosby was cross-checking Zetterberg in front of Howard and that led to some punches, pushing and shoving in a scrum behind the net.
Detroit has a four-point cushion over Calgary with 10 games remaining for both teams in the regular season.
The Penguins lead New Jersey by two points in the Atlantic Division, but they've played two more games, in a race to be the second- or third-seeded team in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit is 5-0-1 in its last six games and has won eight of 11 since the Olympic break. The Penguins have won just two of their last seven games after Vancouver.
Pittsburgh was without star Evgeni Malkin for the third time in four games because of an injured right foot.
Malkin and Crosby scored in a 2-1 shootout victory over Detroit on Jan. 31 in Pittsburgh.
Crosby's best chance to score came 33 seconds into Monday's game, but his wrist shot from the top of the left circle was snagged by Howard.
The superstar has a career-high 45 goals this season, tied with Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the league lead, but he has not scored in five straight games and in only one of his last eight.
Detroit failed to take advantage of two power plays in the first, but Filppula took advantage of a scoring opportunity, beating Fleury's blocker after Todd Bertuzzi made a cross-ice pass.
Zetterberg scored his first goal midway through the second period off his own rebound as Bertuzzi was engaged with Crosby in front of Fleury, obstructing his view.
Pittsburgh outworked the Red Wings to pull within a goal as Chris Kunitz knocked Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski off the puck, leading to Dupuis goal late in the second.
Zetterberg sealed the victory with his 22nd goal early in the third period.
NOTES: Detroit scratched F Dan Cleary (groin) and F Patrick Eaves (back, neck). ... Former Red Wing and Russian star Igor Larionov was asked if he has taken over his country's mission to fare better in hockey on home soil at the 2014 Olympics. "Not yet," Larionov said. ... Versus' Doc Emerick was honored during a third-period break for broadcasting his 3,000th game.
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