Pens-Red Wings (Preseason) In-Game Blog
Wednesday, 09.21.2011 / 6:30 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
0:00: That'll do it! Pens win the preseason opener over rival Detroit, 3-2!!!
0:22: Wings coach Babcock elects to use his timeout as they have a faceoff in the Pens D zone. They're really pushing hard these last few minutes -- they want to win this game.
0:58: Detroit pulls MacDonald for the extra attacker!
1:22: Thiessen looking sharp out there as the penalty expires and Pittsburgh goes back to full strength.
2:05: Nice penalty killing out there by Sneep and Samuelsson, two young Pens D-men.
3:14: Now Detroit has the 5-on-4 advantage as Neal jumps out of the box.
3:22: With six seconds left on Neal's penalty, Martin gets whistled for cross-checking. Wings have a 5-on-3 for a few seconds here.
3:53: Wings now have the PP.
5:16: We're going 4-on-4 for a bit as Neal heads to the box.
6:17: Morrow jumps down deep and works the puck around Detroit's net. He finds the puck just outside the blue paint with MacDonald down, but his shot slides through the crease and out of danger.
6:39: Geno's stick snaps in half in the corner and he quickly grabs a new one. He returns in time to jump back in the play, but MacDonald covers up.
8:36: Neal plants himself in the slot and gets a one-timer opportunity. However, MacDonald smothers it for the faceoff.
9:28: As Samuelsson prepares to break the puck out of the Pens D zone, Dan Cleary comes over and absolutely crushes him from the back with an elbow. He's getting five minutes in the box and the Pens will be on the PP that whole time. Lots of tempers flared after that play.
11:25: Lots of puck movement these last few minutes by both teams. Nice flow to the play right now.
17:12: Shortly after Pens go back to full strength, Hudler unleashes a shot from the point that hits the post, banks off Thiessen's pad and back over the goal line. Pens 3, Wings 2
18:17: Fabian Brunnstrom and Dan Cleary get a couple of cracks at the doorstep, but Thiessen comes up big!
19:16: Vitale gets around the Detroit D with a burst of speed, whipping a shot toward the cage that MacDonald turns away.
19:28: After Thiessen covers for his first save of the game, Sneep gets two for hi-sticking. Pens on the PK.
20:00: Brad Thiessen has replaced Marc-Andre Fleury in goal for the Pens this period, which starts now! Joey MacDonald is now between the pipes for Detroit.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES
- Geno has a goal, an assist, is plus-2 and has logged 14:27 minutes.
- Sneep, Morrow and Martin all have one assist each
- McDonald leads the Pens with four shots
- Letang leads in overall ice time with 15:20 minutes played
0:00: First 40 minutes are in the books. Pens hold a 2-1 lead off goals from Malkin and Niskanen (PP). Shots are 20-16 Pittsburgh.
0:46: Detroit back to full strength.
2:46: Pens back on the PP when Mursak gets a pair for holding. Pittsburgh's first unit: McDonald, Dupuis, Asham up top, Niskanen and Morrow on points.
3:21: Malkin dipsy-doodling with the puck in the Wings zone, leaving defenders trying to keep up. He ends up dishing to Niskanen, who immediately passes to Neal in the slot. Nice work by the Pens.
4:31: Tanger comes away with the puck after a battle on the boards and he and Dupuis are off on a 2-on-1! But Howard turns it aside.
6:36: Niskanen winds up and unleashes a slapper from the point. It finds its way through traffic into the back of the cage! PP tally for Pittsburgh! Pens 3, Wings 1
8:05: Pens on the PP with Emmerton in the box for tripping. Letang is on the left point with Martin on the right. Kunitz, Geno and Neal up top.
9:02: Malkin is off to the races off a pass from Sneep. He shields Garnet Exelby from the puck with one arm while powering to the net and then slides the puck to his forehand, lifting it past Howard! Welcome back Geno!!! Pens 2, Wings 1
9:50: Kronwall is everywhere tonight! He swoops down low to grab a rebound and send it towards Fleury, whose glove snatches the puck out of midair. PS -- no Big Macs tonight.
11:15: Morrow uses his strong skating to power the puck out of the Pens D zone and send a perfect pass through the neutral zone to Asham. He goes in alone but Howard makes the save; Dupuis can't collect the rebound.
12:11: So Bob Grove and I decided we're keeping track of the Big Mac Attack this year. If a Penguins player scores in the next two minutes, anyone who's at the game gets a free Big Mac from McDonald's with your ticket.
12:43: Walker carries down the ice and tries a cross-ice pass, which gets blocked. He then manages to corral the puck again, but Howard makes the save.
15:00: The ice seems really wide open tonight for some reason. Lots of space. Dupuis takes advantage of some of that when he gets open for a home-run pass from Sneep.
17:57: Miller finds a loose puck in the slot and backhands it to what looks like an open net, but Flower quickly kicks out his pad and makes the save!
18:31: Flower looking sharp. Comes far out of his net to challenge a Detroit shooter and gobbles u[p the puck for the faceoff.
19:37: Letang drops Cleary in front of the Pens net. Big hit by 58.
20:00: Puck drops. Game on!
FIRST PERIOD NOTES
- Malkin has an assist, is plus-1, has logged 6:23 of ice time and looks incredible out there.
- McDonald leads with three shots.
- Letang leads all Pens with 7:27 of ice time. Morrow is next with 7:16 minutes.
0:00: That'll do it for the first 20 minutes of Penguins hockey! Pens and Wings are tied 1-1 with goals from Kunitz and Kronwall. Wings hold a 9-6 advantage in shots.
1:45: Geno steals the puck off the boards, goes to the slot and does a sick spin-o-rama move and dishes to Letang. Tanger's shot clangs off the post!
3:21: Seconds later, they get another one! But Howard turns away McDonald's shot.
3:55: Vitale and McDonald get a 2-on-1 opportunity, but can't convert!
6:07: Seconds later, the Wings find the net this time. Niklas Kronwall takes a pass in the slot and snipes the top right corner of the goal. Pens 1, Red Wings 1
6:37: Jiri Hudler winds up from the left circle and unleashes a blast that rings the inside of the post and bounces out.
8:20: Geno sends a perfect cross-ice pass to Kunitz from the boards, who lifts it up and over Howard and into the back of the net! WOOHOO!!! Pens 1, Red Wings 0
9:58: Red Wings controlling play in the Penguins D zone right now. They're cycling well and getting traffic in front of 'Flower,' but Pittsburgh eventually clears.
11:43: Pens cause a turnover in the neutral zone, but it's cleared right after they cross Detroit's blue line.
12:41: Pens back to full strength! Last season's No. 1-ranked PK is starting off on the right track.
13:34: Sorry guys, forgot to mention Jimmy Howard is in goal for the Red Wings.
14:41: Detroit heads to the PP as Walker gets two for boarding.
16:49: While Geno is standing on the blue line, he one touches a pass over to a breaking James Neal, who can't quite get the shot off.
19:45: Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, who normally wears a No. 13 sweater, is wearing No. 24 tonight in honor of his former teammate, Ruslan Salei, who passed away in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash on Sep. 7.
There was a moment of silence before the national anthem to honor those who perished in the crash and the NHL players who passed away this summer -- Wade Belak, Derek Boogard and Rick Rypien. RIP.
20:00: Jeff Jimerson sung the national anthem. The penguin asked on the jumbotron if everyone was ready. Mike Lange announced that it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh. We're good to go! Game on!!!
The preseason pregame countdown is officially over!!! The pregame intro is now playing.
The crowd goes nuts when they announce Malkin's name as a starter!
Pens' line combos for tonight:
Fleury to start. (He'll play the first two periods while Thiessen will take over for the third).
It's finally time. We're getting so close to the first official puck drop of the 2011-12 campaign, as the Penguins are hosting Western Conference rival Detroit tonight for the preseason opener, and I can't tell you how great it feels to be back in my seat in the media level next to Bob Grove, Steve Mears and Sam Kasan.
A sense of excitement surrounded the locker room following the game group's morning skate, and the players all confirmed that they're more than ready to hit the ice at 7 p.m. and get this season going. Catch up on all of the day's updates in the Pens Report.
It's Evgeni Malkin's first time back on CONSOL Energy Center ice for a game in front of Penguins fans, and he can't wait to be in front of the crowd. "We’re playing at home," he said. "I have not played in a long time here, and of course I’m excited because I hope fans come and that we have a great game tonight."
Tonight is also a big opportunity for some individual players to, as head coach Dan Bylsma put it, "show what they can do, show where they fit, show what skills they have and can bring to our team." There's a solid mix of players dressing for both teams, some veterans and some not. Here's how the lineups shake down for both teams:
9 Pascal Dupuis
12 Richard Park
14 Chris Kunitz
18 James Neal
23 Ryan Craig
38 Colin McDonald
45 Arron Asham
46 Joe Vitale
56 Paul Thompson
57 Brian Gibbons
67 Geoff Walker
71 Evgeni Malkin
2 Matt Niskanen
7 Paul Martin
55 Philip Samuelsson
58 Kris Letang
59 Carl Sneep
70 Joseph Morrow
Detroit Red Wings
11 Dan Cleary
15 Fabian Brunnstrom
17 Patrick Eaves
20 Drew Miller
21 Tomas Tatar
24 Pavel Datsyuk
26 Jiri Hudler
39 Jan Mursak
41 Chris Conner
42 Ryan Johnson
48 Corey Emmerton
96 Tomas Holmstrom
2 Brendan Smith
3 Garnet Exelby
22 Mike Commodore
23 Brad Stuart
32 Logan Pyett
55 Niklas Kronwall