The Wings started their preseason with a Monday night tilt in Pittsburgh against the half of the Penguins camp roster that hadn't played in the team's OT loss to the Blue Jackets the night before, coming away with a 4-1 victory.
The Wings jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period off a Tomas Tatar goal helped in large part by Tatar himself and Ferraro digging in the corner to free up a puck and feed the goal-scorer on the back door. Brandon Sutter tied it early in the 2nd for the Penguins on the only goal of the game I didn't see. I hear it was a 2-on-1 that Howard didn't have much of a chance to stop.
Fortunately, the Wings answered with three more goals, including two power play markers by Adam Almqvist in the rest of the 2nd period and didn't look back. After the two Almqvist bombs from the point, Datsyuk ended the scoring with a positively Datsyukian play to grab a puck, get a good shot off, pick up his own rebound, and roof it on the backhand while the defense just kind of played stunned for the three seconds the whole play took.
1st Period 12:56 (Detroit Goal) - Tomas Tatar form Landon Ferraro and Brendan Smith
2nd Period 1:05 (Pittsburgh Goal) - Brandon Sutter from Chris Conner and Paul Martin
2nd Period 6:10 (Detroit Goal)- Adam Almqvist (PP) from Brendan Smith and Tomas Tatar
2nd Period 11:50 (Detroit Goal)- Adam Almqvist (PP) from Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk
2nd Period 17:59 (Detroit Goal)- Pavel Datsyuk from Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Vokoun
DET Power Play: 2/5
PIT Power Play: 0/5
To the bullets!
- Danny DeKeyser looks like he picked up right where he left off last season when he went down with a thumb injury. He was smartly aggressive and well-positioned; he even drew a penalty in the second period as he jumped up on a rush opportunity and got behind the defense. He looks like a full grown man out there.
- Tomas Tatar had a heck of a game, scoring a goal and assisting on another. He was skating hard all night and showed the kind of puck-handling skill we've come to appreciate. I thought he passed up on a few good opportunities to take shots from good areas, but I'm nitpicking now.
- Pavel Datsyuk is still really good at hockey. I know you were all worried that he wasn't still good, but boy do you look foolish for thinking that. I can't believe you. That's just shameful.
- @Babcocksflyhair on Twitter dropped my jaw with just a fantastic nickname for the young Red Wings' defenseman who scored two goals in the 2nd period. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time we start the countdown for Atom Bombqvist.
- It's interesting to note that Tootoo didn't entertain any offers to drop the gloves nor did he look particularly interested in making any offers. I think fighting in the preseason is dumb anyway, but it shows a real level of maturity in Tootoo that he's out there trying to earn a spot as a hockey player and not as a facepuncher. You figure one of the dumb kids on the Penguins' bubble would have tried to earn some brownie points by having his shit neatly handed to him by Tootoo, but that didn't happen.
- It's the very first preseason game and he's not going to make the lineup, but Brennan Evans confused me. It won't take long to get over, I hope, but seeing a #51 out there playing like a big-bodied physical player with a completely different skating stride and mentality was just weird. It was like watching a movie where the voices aren't perfectly dubbed with the action and you just can't get used to it.
- Justin Abdelkader was not popular with the Penguins in this game. High-sticking their captain didn't help, but to hear it from Steigerwald and Errey, he was on Penguins' nerves all night. This is why Abdelkader plays up there. He's not terribly creative, but he's a big pain in the ass.
- The Wings were outshot 24-19, but I thought Detroit's defense did a very good job. Howard wasn't terribly tested during this one and Mrazek kind of makes everything look more exciting than it is (and sometimes makes things more exciting than he has to). Guys were pinching well and stepping up on players to take away space. I thought all three pairs were effective in their own zone.
- Of all the guys who are pretty much already on the team, I think I was least-impressed with Joakim Andersson, but that's not a terrible thing. It's kind of Andersson's job to be kind of boring. He's got more pace to his game than he showed in this one, but he was playing confidently.
Tomorrow the other half of the Wings' camp squad will take on the Blackhawks. So far nobody is planning on televising that game. Hopefully somebody changes that before now and then. I really want to see the Franzen-Weiss-Alfredsson line in action.