The Pittsburgh Penguins were no match for goaltender Jimmy Howard and Detroit as the Red Wings cruised to a 4-1 road victory on Tuesday.
Howard, who has allowed more than two goals just once in his last eight games, made 25 saves and the streaking Red Wings skated to their third win in a row. They have also won 10 of their last 12 games.
Tonight was a good one for our team, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters. I thought (Pavel Datsyuk) was dominant down the stretch, and that's what he tends to do in the bigger moments.
The game got off to a bad start for Howard, however, when he was beaten by Evgeni Malkin for the game's opening goal toward the end of the first period.
But it was all Detroit (19-9-1) from there.
Datsyuk tied the score in the second period and then added an assist when Johan Franzen put the Wings ahead early in the third with his 14th goal of the season.
Danny Cleary sealed the game with two goals in the last five minutes.
They were very patient and both teams didn't make many mistakes, said Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen. We just couldn't get a dirty goal to go in.
The Penguins (17-10-4) were playing their third game without captain Sidney Crosby, who is suffering from concussion-like symptoms that originally sidelined him for 10 months.
The Red Wings pulled within a point of Chicago in the Central division while Pittsburgh fell three points behind Philadelphia in the Atlantic.