PITTSBURGH — Calvin Pickard got a doozy of an assignment for his first start of the season: Sidney Crosby and the high-octane Pittsburgh Penguins.
With No. 1 goalie Alex Nedeljkovic having made seven straight starts and backup Thomas Greiss unavailable, the Detroit Red Wings went with Pickard on Friday night at PPG Paints Arena. He made 36 saves, including stopping Crosby on a breakaway, and Lucas Raymond capped the game with a shootout goal that gave the Wings a 3-2 victory.
It was a fitting end to a well-played game for the Wings (19-19-6), ending a three-game skid.
Moritz Seider got into it with Crosby in the final minutes of regulation, earning offsetting roughing penalties. Dylan Larkin started overtime with a terrific chance, firing a shot from the bottom of the right circle, one of four chances the Wings had in the extra period.
Humbled by how careless they were with the puck in their previous outing, the Wings came out with a strong first period, generating good offensive-zone time and limiting the Penguins’ chances against Pickard. Givani Smith capped the period with a goal, and the Wings retook the lead in the second period when Filip Zadina scored for the first time since Nov. 30.
The momentum the Wings built off that lasted less than a minute into the third period. Crosby fired the puck in from the boards, and Jake Guentzel capitalized on having no one on him to score his second goal of the night.
Zadina ends drought
Zadina picked up his fifth goal when he converted on a power play. Filip Hronek set up Nick Leddy for a one-timer from the high slot. Michael Rasmussen got a piece of the puck, and Zadina ultimately earned the goal because he was by the post. It’s where the Wings have stressed he needs to be, because dirty goals need to be part of his repertoire. Goal scorers often put points up in bunches, so maybe this can ignite Zadina after a poor first half.
Givani provides lead
Smith picked up his third goal when he scored at 18:19 of the first period. Joe Veleno intercepted Mike Matheson’s pass and directed a shot on net that Matheson blocked. Sam Gagner caught the puck and directed it on net, and when the puck squirted out of the paint, Smith spun around and stuffed the puck behind goalie Casey DeSmith. The assist was Veleno’s first point since Dec. 10 at Colorado, a stretch of 15 games.
Gemel joins Wings
Gemel Smith, claimed off waivers Jan. 19, was recalled Friday and took part in the morning skate. He was not in the lineup against the Penguins, but since he was brought to Pittsburgh, it would indicate there’s a plan to play him Saturday. Smith, the older brother of Givani, played three games with the Grand Rapids Griffins in a conditioning stint. He hadn’t played this season because of an abdominal injury. Smith was claimed because he’s a center, and the Wings have lost fourth-line centers Carter Rowney and Mitchell Stephens to injury.
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings soar in 3-2 shootout win over Pittsburgh Penguins