Evgeni Malkin puts the Penguins ahead of the Red Wings 1-0 with a goal in the final seconds of the first period.
Red Wings Johan Franzen celebrates after scoring the go ahead goal in the third period against the Penguins.
By Shelly Anderson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Penguins had a difficult time solving Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard and fell to the Red Wings, 4-1, tonight at Consol Energy Center in the teams' only meeting of the season.
It was the Penguins' first regulation loss against a Western Conference club. They are now 6-1-3 in those games.
The Penguins took a 1-0 lead with 4.5 seconds left in the first period. Evgeni Malkin raced down the right side on a two-on-one with Chris Kunitz, and Detroit's Brad Stuart defending. From the right dot, Malkin whipped a low shot past goaltender Jimmy Howard on the far side.
Brooks Orpik started the play by blocking a Red Wings shot. James Neal got the puck and sent Malkin on his way.
Malkin had been listed as a game-time decision after missing the morning skate for an undisclosed reason.
The Red Wings tied it, 1-1, at 16:01 of the second period when Pavel Datsyuk rifled a backhand shot from the slot past the right pad of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Johan Franzen's power-play goal from the left circle gave Detroit a 2-1 lead at 5:15 of the third period. Datsyuk got the puck to Franzen after he intercepted Matt Cooke's clearing attempt.
Detroit pushed its lead to 3-1 at 15:36 of the third period when Dan Cleary scored off of a centering pass from former Penguin Chris Conner during a three-on-two rush.
Cleary added an empty-net goal with 5.9 seconds left in regulation.