By LARRY LAGE
The Associated Press
Monday, March 21, 2011; 10:48 PM
DETROIT -- James Neal scored the only goal in the shootout, and the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled out a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings after blowing a four-goal lead on Monday night.
Just hours after Penguins forward Matt Cooke was suspended by the NHL for the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs for an elbow to the head of New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, Pascal Dupuis had two goals and an assist to help Pittsburgh build its big lead.
Tyler Kennedy put Pittsburgh ahead 4-0 at 13:16 of the second period, ending goalie Jimmy Howard's night. Joey MacDonald stopped all 10 shots he faced before the shootout.
Henrik Zetterberg's goal started Detroit's comeback late in the second, and Mike Modano tied it midway through the third.
Brent Johnson stopped 37 shots for the Penguins.
Pittsburgh has had to get used to playing without injured stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Now the Penguins will try to catch the Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia Flyers for the best record in the Eastern Conference without another key player.
Cooke was suspended for the fourth time in three seasons with the Penguins, and the repeat offender wasn't backed up by his team.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero released a statement before the game, saying head shots have no place in hockey.
Crosby took at least one too many hits to the head this season that have been forced him to sit out since Jan. 5 because of a concussion. Malkin was lost last month for the season after he tore two ligaments in his right knee.
Detroit was missing a star, a standout and a role player against the Penguins.
Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen missed their second straight game with lower body injuries, and Jiri Hudler was out for a third game because of an upper body ailment.
The Red Wings started strong, taking the first five shots and preventing Pittsburgh from getting a puck on Howard for nearly five minutes, and finished with a flurry of offense in regulation.
In between, Pittsburgh was dominant.
Dupuis scored his first goal on a wide wraparound at 15:14 of the first period, shooting the puck between Howard's right skate and left knee. Chris Kunitz scored on a rebound of Dupuis' shot with 43 seconds left in the period.
Dupuis had a short-handed goal midway through the second. He mishandled the puck that bounced off the end boards toward him, but took advantage of the second chance. Dupuis had recorded a season-high three points just 31 minutes in.
When Kennedy scored off his own rebound to make it 4-0, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock replaced Howard with MacDonald.
Zetterberg scored with 2:19 left in the second, Valtteri Filppula had a goal early in the third, and Danny Cleary and Modano scored 2:21 apart midway through the period to make it 4-4.
Notes: Modano, who missed half the season with a wrist injury, scored his first goal since Nov. 3 in his 12th game back. ... Cooke will miss the last 10 games of the regular season, costing him $219,512.20, and at least four playoff games. ... Crosby is skating, but there isn't a timetable for his return to the lineup. ... Pittsburgh beat Detroit 4-1 on Jan. 18 at home.