We’re back the day after watching the Wings get demolished by the Hawks in the Windy City waiting to see if the other half of the Detroit 50/50 squad can show better against the semi-dress-rehearsal Pens. I’m making excuses again because it’s fun and it’s what I know.
Forgive if the first period narration seems a bit broken. I came in late and it’s preseason. Cut me some slack. I also have the ROOT feed, so I envy those of you with Ken & Mick.
Oh no the first shift was bad! The second one wasn’t much better as Kessel blows past Ouellet to receive a pass at the net front that Coreau has to stop on the redirect.
Bert feeds Svech for a rush and the Wings’ first good chance.
The OMG line continues to look like the dominant puck-possession group we all envisioned early on.
The Wings get on the board first as Nyquist goes in on a one-man forecheck so the Wings can change behind him and does a good enough job to recover possession and stay in on the play. This pays off as AA feeds Sproul as the point for a slapper into traffic. Nyquist gets the rebound before anybody else and slides it in around the goalie to make it 1-0.
After a brief push-back by the Pens, Detroit again starts taking back over moving the puck up ice and getting back to keep the Pens from creating anything
Mantha and AA combine to create another great scoring chance together that Frk just misses. These are fun kids who do fun stuff.
Scott Wilson hits Dan Renouf away from the puck and knocks him off his edges heading to the boards. The Wings player takes a tough tumble and Detroit gets a power play. The ROOT sports guys show all the concern of golf announcers explaining Supermarket Sweep.
The Wings’ PP takes a lot of time trying to get set up against an aggressive Pittsburgh PK and can’t generate shots on goal to get going, but a clever zone entry by Nyquist, Pulkkinen, and Sheahan separates the PIT forwards from the D enough for Sheahan to find Bertuzzi sneaking in on the back door for a forehand-backhand slide across the front that finishes through the five hole to make it 2-0 with eight seconds to spare in the PP.
Pittsburgh’s next scoring chance comes from BONINO BONINO BONINO BONINO BONINO BONINO! It’s not even a good scoring chance, but it gives me an opportunity to relive that video and I don’t want to wait and see if Bonino does anything more interesting than that.
Tyler Bertuzzi is positively flying and Svechnikov is doing big boy’s work along the boards to dig the puck out over and over to feed Sproul at the opposite points for a number of shots. No goals, but it’s a good system and fun to watch it happen three times in a row.
“Smith whacks it off” is all I hear with ten seconds left and I’m twelve years old.
2-0 score after one. Good job, Wings.
All righty. The Wings are up and I’m feeling good. Let me savor this for a moment and then we’ll get back to LIVE HOCKEY ACTION.
The Wings pick up where they left off with well-structured play. At one point, MAF loses a race to Athanasiou, but AA barely misses poking it through as Fleury tries to clear.
3:35 in, Pulkkinen takes a penalty for slapping Olli Maatta with his stick to prevent a keep-in. Maatta’s shoulder didn’t fall off, so clearly Pulkkinen hasn’t fully regained his strength. Glendening and Miller spend probably 20 seconds with the puck in the Penguins’ zone while short a man and then the whole team spends the next 40 seconds picking off stretch passes and shoving the puck back into the far end.
Without a whistle from the end of the penalty, Pittsburgh makes it 2-1 about six minutes in as a sharp-angle shot on Coreau gets kicked to the slot where the Pens’ D-man steps into it. The puck is tipped by traffic and finds its way into the net.
The next shift, Detroit goes shorthanded again as AA gets his stick up on a guy and oh great ROOT has a behind-the-net cam too!
This PK isn’t quite as successful at moving it out, but it’s way shorter because Sheahan gets a steal and forces Pouliot to hook him down and even up play.
Bertuzzi and Mantha spend the entire 55 seconds of 4-on-4 showing off how good they are. No goal scored, but two really good chances created for Bert and Sproul in the process.
Nothing doing on the shortened PP, but they did get a shot on goal, so that’s nice.
Jensen shoots the puck over the glass from his own end with no pressure. Somewhere Jonathan Ericsson pulls a pin out of a tiny doll wearing the number 3 and cackles maniacally.
The Pens’ best chance comes when Scott Wilson burns Lashoff and then just loses the puck off the end of his stick before he can get a shot off. Two seconds left in the PP, Kunitz goes off for hooking Lashoff in what is an extremely soft call that I’m sure made Pittsburgh fans happy.
The Wings’ PP starts with MAF scrambling all over and robbing Pulkkinen and Svechnikov. After a ton of big saves, the Pens move it down ice and Letang ends up tying the game after Coreau is forced to make a big save on some real confused defensive play.
On an extension of the same PP, the Wings retake the lead as Bertuzzi, Sheahan, and AA all work together to get a setup. Some great passing between Sheahan and Bertuzzi gets it low and creates space for a wonderful no-look pass to Frk on the doorstep for the easy one-timer past Fleury.
Malkin gets out against Ben Street’s line and the goalpost is the only thing that keeps a shot through traffic from tying the game again.
17:24 in, the two-goal lead comes back on a seeing-eye shot from Brendan Smith at the point. Nyquist forechecks and Pulkkinen screens and ahhahahahahahahaha soft tiny euros doing big boy hockey things. I thought they didn’t do stuff like that?
Another post hit by the Penguins. Ho-hum.
Sproul goes for hitting Guentzel in the numbers. He’s doing the big physical thing, but with the spacing away from the boards, he’s got to make a smarter decision here. Ten seconds into the power play, Brendan Smith drags Patric Hornqvist to his ass and Steve Ott punches Malkin after a whistle. I am entertained by these things, although they are probably not good ideas.
The Penguins’ power play finishing the period is honestly terrifying, but Coreau keeps it out and the period ends. 4-2 Wings.
The third period also starts nicely as the Nyquist-Sheahan-Pulkkinen line puts pressure on.
Anthony Mantha is beefier’n my grandma’s chili and twice as spicy. I hope he gets a shot before he becomes more like her chili and turns into a has-bean.
We’re five minutes into the third and I’m just now realizing I kind of haven’t noticed Ouellet much in this game. He played nine minutes in the second period, so I realize that him being basically invisible to this point is a really good thing.
I mentioned Sheahan twice in the second and want to mention him again. He’s showing more of his soft hands so far and I’m happy with him.
Sproul takes a tripping penalty for sliding Wilson’s feet out as he tries to stop up short of the boards. Overall he’s playing well, but that’s two dumb penalties. Letang freezes Coreau, but catches the crossbar on the angle about a minute in. After that, the Pens don’t get any more dangerous chances and the Wings even get a decent rush as Sproul leaves the box.
Jensen takes an interference call every bit as weak as that Kunitz hook in the 2nd period. Don’t count this one against him. Fortunately the PP only lasts a few seconds as Malkin’s Count Chocula-ass bloodlust takes out Brian Lashoff’s leg and evens up the play.
The next several minutes are full of Penguins chances that Coreau stops. We’ll just call all that score effects.
Fleury heads to the bench with just under three minutes to go. This time AA can’t put it into the goal before he can even get off.
After a whistle, a faceoff in the DET end brings out the OMG line to do exactly what they were put together to do. They proceed to spend the next minute watching shot after shot come at their goalie and one hit the post before Xavier Ouellet takes a penalty for trying to give Patric Hornqvist an aggressive boob job with the middle of his stick.
This turns out to be a really good idea as on the reset, Malkin nails Hornqvist with a shot that bounces off him and gives Steve Ott the entire ice to skate it gently into the open net to make it 5-2.
Ott celebrates his goal by taking his skate off and using it to bleed a pig out at center ice. It’s a disgusting spectacle and incredibly disrespectful.
Tyler Bertuzzi belongs on this team. There is no question. That kid has hands, vision, skill and even grit.
Sproul shot the absolute tits off the puck in this game.
Jared Coreau is gigantic. He looks like he could play on the Lions’ line, so it’s surprising that he’s as nimble as he is too. I’m wondering what happens first: we demand he’s the full-time starter or the next lockout?
Speaking of gigantic people, Anthony Mantha looks like a completely different player. He’s fully NHL-sized now and plays like it. Good reach, good lean, keeps his head up, and backchecks well enough for a Winger. I’m very impressed.
Teemu Pulkkinen was more noticeable, but he still looked kind of “off.” He skated hard, but there were a few plays where I think he was still getting a feel for things and missed a a chance to make a better decision. To his credit though, I thought he had a really good backcheck in the third to make up for a bad Lashoff pinch and prevent a clean 2-on-1.
Overall, the Penguins’ regulars seemed mostly interested in just setting up their pace getting ready for the season. I’m proud of the Wings for winning this game regardless. Half-speed Malkin and Kessel are still extremely dangerous players. I should have some negatives to talk about, but I don’t really. I’m sure you could think of some if you try hard enough.
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Next game, the Wings are in
Toronto Hamilton on Friday at 7:00