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Red Wings win despite dropping 1st goal again

Detroit gets another come-from-behind victory

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings let the Pittsburgh Penguins score first Wednesday night, but dropping the first goal hasn't stalled the Wings lately.

Evgeni Malkin's goal with seconds left in the first period could have been a dagger to a Detroit team on the road and facing a tough Penguins offense. But the Red Wings (19-9-1) weren't rattled at all.

They came out shooting in the second and Jimmy Howard shut the door. Pittsburgh couldn't find the back of the net and the Red Wings capitalized on opportunities to cruise to a 4-1 win.

Howard hasn't allowed more than two goals nine times in his past 11 appearances between the pipes. The Red Wings have found a brick wall in this 27-year-old.

Which has given Detroit an opportunity to win every game they're in, no matter when or how much they fall behind.

Saturday's game against the Winnipeg Jets could have easily gotten away from the Wings when Brian Little stashed one behind Howard just 35 seconds into regulation. Of course, Howard became a wall again and the Red Wings pushed forward, winning 7-1.

It's astonishing how easy Detroit makes it look. They don't get rattled. They play 60 minutes. But without Howard, Detroit wouldn't be enjoying such come-from-behind victories.

Pavel Datsyuk is back on top of his game, too. Datsyuk's best game is the best in the world. He passes, steals, shoots, checks and does it all with ease. Number 13 is like Bugs Bunny on ice. His mid-air keep-in during the 3rd period Wednesday, which led to Johan Franzen's goal, was an outstanding play that few players could imagine making.

Forward Chris Conner, who was called up after Patrick Eaves was placed on injury reserve with a broken jaw, has been a spark plug. Conner has 3 points in six games with the Wings, getting another assist Wednesday night. Moreover, he's generated several scoring chances and has hustled through the neutral zone to earn a +2 rating. Conner is making a case for staying up with Detroit for the rest of the season.

With Datsyuk and Howard leading the charge, the Red Wings look poised to stay near or at the top of the Western Conference.