Penguins snap Red Wings' winning streak at six

The Penguins (44-26-11), whose current playoff streak is the longest in the National Hockey League and their history, lead the Carolina Hurricanes by two points for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

"If you have Malkin and Letang back in your lineup, you're a much better team (and) it creates real hard matchups on the road especially when we're thin to begin with", Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

The Penguins have won three Stanley Cups and appeared in a Cup final during that span.

Phil Kessel had two goals and an assist, Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists, and Matt Murray made 33 saves for Pittsburgh, which split a home-and-home with the Red Wings and is 11-4-2 in its past 17 games.

On the Red Wings - who will miss the playoffs for the third straight year after making it every season from 1991-2016 - hope they can carry forward next fall. Pittsburgh finishes the regular season at the New York Rangers following Thursday's game against the Red Wings. For the first time a while, the Penguins took the ice somewhere close to full strength.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Malkin skated on a line with Bryan Rust and Phil Kessel as part of a restructured top six during Wednesday's practice and also reclaimed his spot on the top power play.

Puempel gave the Red Wings an early lead when he deflected Filip Hronek's shot by Murray 7:35 into the game for his first goal since January 23, 2017, when Puempel was playing for the New York Rangers.

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The game turned, however, when Murray made a sprawling stop on a breakaway by Martin Frk midway through the opening period. The save seemed to give the Penguins a jolt, and Guentzel scored shortly thereafter, a shot from the slot that beat Howard 10:43 into the first.

Crosby extended the lead to 4-1 at 6:36 of the third period, tapping in a rebound in the crease after Kessel's initial shot hit the post and ricocheted off Howard's back on a power play. Pittsburgh forward Matt Cullen played his 1,515th National Hockey League game, passing Steve Yzerman for 19th in National Hockey League history.

Malkin has notched 50 assists and 71 points in 66 games this season. Letang skated a team-high 25:52 in just his fourth game since February 23, thanks to an upper-body injury of his own. Detroit F Tyler Bertuzzi was held without a point to end his franchise-record streak of games with at least three points at four.

The Penguins, though 4-2-2 in his absence, have scored two or fewer goals in six of their past nine games, with zero power-play goals in seven of those outings.

Kessel scored his second on a snap shot glove side off a face-off win by Evgeni Malkin to make it 3-1 at 15:32 of the second period.

Red Wings: Wrap up 2018-19 at home Saturday against Buffalo. Pittsburgh is two points behind the New York Islanders for second place.

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