The Wings took their 2-3 preseason record into Wednesday night's game against a Penguins squad that was in their final dress rehearsal of the preseason and iced most of their regulars. Meanwhile, Detroit sat their two best forwards and their two best defensemen, as well as Daniel Alfredsson and Jakub Kindl (injuries).
After giving up two goals in the first period, the Wings came out in the second and... did the same thing! Fortunately, Marc-Andre Fleury was himself and gave up a funny chip-shot goal to Drew Miller. Things didn't improve in the third, as a power play goal made it 5-1 where it would stay.
To the preseason bullets:
- Justin Abdelkader got into a late fight with Robert Bortuzzi and possibly hurt his hand. Good job, Abby! Mikael Samuelsson and Evgeni Malkin weren't being nice to each other at the final whistle either, but whatever. [Update: Abdelkader cut his hand, requiring stitches]
- Kyle Quincey was not making smart decisions in this game and I'm wondering if it's a lack of confidence on his part. I counted two times when he had the puck on his stick in the defensive zone with nobody around him where he forced a pass to a covered forward just to get it off his stick. The second time, he got Todd Bertuzzi checked from behind. The guy has puck-carrying skills. He needs to use them when it's appropriate.
- Stephen Weiss is certainly working hard, but he does look like he's not entirely sure where he's supposed to be on transition plays. He looks comfortable battling along the boards, but his positioning isn't great.
- Johan Franzen is alternately bored with everything and trying to do all the work himself. No idea what's going on in this guy's head, but he needs to get stuff figured out.
- The Tatar-Andersson-Nyquist line didn't look out of place against top-six NHL competition. They didn't dominate, but nor were they dominated. When the full roster is all together and they're given easier assignments, they should take advantage in a big way. The speed at which they make plays and intelligent body positioning makes up for the line's relative lack of size.
- I don't mind the Wings losing to a more-thorough squad, but the number of mental mistakes from this team in the preseason is unsettling. It's a group of guys mostly getting used to one another, but focus can make up for gaps in chemistry and that was also badly lacking. Little things like not having sticks on the ice or covering the wrong lane hurt the Wings' chances in this game.
- Maybe it's my own confirmation bias, but Cory Emmerton looks like he's already accepted he's not going to make the team. He was not just unimpressive, but was noticeably bad in several cases.
- Previous reports of games not televised said that Todd Bertuzzi was skating well and showing the kind of hands we knew he had. This game I actually got to see it. I like Todd Bertuzzi on this team.
- Man oh man that third period was garbage. The Penguins kept playing and the Wings just kind of lost focus waiting for the final buzzer to sound.
Next up for the Wings: another home game on Friday. This time they'll face the Maple Leafs.