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Kessel helps Penguins rally past Red Wings 5-3

PITTSBURGH -- A two-goal deficit was no big deal for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Phil Kessel and company responded with one big finish.

Kessel scored twice, including one of Pittsburgh's four goals in the third, and the Penguins rallied to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 on Saturday night.

"You just have to stick with it in games like this," Kessel said. "We did and we got rewarded."

The defending Stanley Cup champions trailed 3-1 entering the third, but scored three times in the first 11 minutes of the period. Matt Cullen tacked on his fifth goal of the season when he was hauled down on his way to an empty net with 41 seconds remaining.

Nick Bonino and Justin Schultz also scored in the third, helping Pittsburgh win back-to-back games for the first time in a month. Marc-Andre Fleury had 28 saves in his second straight start.

"Nobody panicked," Fleury said. "We were down in the game, but we had a good talk before the third. We have a team that can come back and we did it again."

Detroit had recorded at least a point in five straight games. Henrik Zetterberg scored his 314th career goal, matching Pavel Datsyuk for seventh in team history, and Dylan Larkin and Frans Nielsen got the other goals for the Red Wings.

Detroit goaltender Jared Coreau stopped 32 shots in his NHL debut. Coreau was poised early, making a sprawling save on Sidney Crosby in the first five minutes and later denying Evgeni Malkin on a breakaway, but he struggled in the final period.

"In the third, when they scored the second one, we started to panic a little bit instead of playing with poise and staying calm," Zetterberg said.

Bonino's goal was his second in as many games, and Schultz has two goals and four points in his last three. Malkin had two assists, extending his point streak to a season-high five games.

Bonino started the comeback with his third goal at 2:05 of the third. Schultz tied it at 3 at 6:28, beating Coreau with a shot from the point. Kessel then put Pittsburgh ahead to stay when he got a pass from Carl Hagelin and beat Coreau from the top of the crease.

"We just had to keep working and sticking to our game," Kessel said. "We believe in each other here."

Pittsburgh is the healthiest it has been the entire season. The Penguins activated forward Chris Kunitz from injured reserve Saturday morning after he missed six games with a lower-body injury.

The Red Wings, on the other hand, played without seven regulars because of injuries. The group, which includes Darren Helm and Jimmy Howard, has accounted for 36 man games lost in the last three weeks.

Forward Justin Abdelkader was placed on injured reserve Saturday morning after suffering a knee injury Thursday against Florida. He had four points in six games prior to his injury.

"We had a decent amount of chances, really throughout the game, and even in the third period," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "In the end, we didn't execute good enough to win."

Game notes
Red Wings D Niklas Kronwall played in his 750th game. ... Pittsburgh scratched Tom Kuhnhackl to make room for Kunitz in the lineup. Rookie Jake Guentzel also sat for a second straight game. ... The Penguins honored the 1991 and `92 Stanley Cup-winning teams, as nearly 40 former players, coaches and team executives attended the morning skate and were recognized during an on-ice ceremony before the game.

UP NEXT

Red Wings: Continue a three-game road trip Sunday at the New York Islanders.

Penguins: Complete a three-game homestand Monday against Ottawa.