Athanasiou, Red Wings rally to rout Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen (7) and Detroit Red Wings left wing Thomas Vanek (62) battle for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By LARRY LAGE

AP Hockey Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Andreas Athanasiou went end to end with the puck, split two defenders and flipped a fluttering puck into the net.

That spectacular third-period goal gave the Detroit Red Wings their first lead and they pulled away to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 on Saturday night.

“It’s definitely a feel-good moment,” Athanasiou said.

Detroit is in desperate need of points as its streak of playing in 25 straight postseasons is in jeopardy after starting the day tied for last in the Eastern Conference.

“Yeah, it’s a big win,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said.

Shortly after Athanasiou scored, Detroit coach Jeff Blashill won a challenge on Pittsburgh’s potential tying goal. It was negated because of goaltender interference caused by Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin pushing Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader into Jared Coreau.

“We didn’t see it that way,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “And it was obviously a major turning point in the game, but can’t stop playing.”

Mike Green scored a power-play goal and Zetterberg added another goal in a 1:33 stretch midway through the third period.

Malkin got his 18th goal of the season early in the second period and Kris Letang scored 27 seconds into the game, giving Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead. Letang left the game in the first period with what appeared to be an injured left knee . Sullivan said he didn’t have an update on Letang’s injury.

Coreau made 28 saves for the Red Wings in his first start at home.

“I waited a long time to play here, and finally got a chance,” said the 25-year-old goalie, signed by Detroit in 2013.

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