The Penguins didn't look their greatest last night as they lost to the Detroit Red Wings 4-1, but that was the trend for Pittsburgh sports teams. The Pens loss coincided with the Pirates being one-hit in a 2-0 defeat to the San Diego Padres and the Steelers lackluster effort in a 20-10 drumming by the Cincinnati Bengals. Altogether, it was a abysmal night for the Steel City.
And the Pittsburgh Penguins defense. Simon Despres took a few steps backwards as his defensive play wasn't what coaches expect from him. He was out of position on Tomas Tatar's goal in the first period and drew a delay-of-game penalty that lend to a near two-minute five-on-three. Kris Letang's passes were off-target and soft and the duo of Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik had a communication breakdown that lead to Pavel Datsyuk's unassisted backhander in the second period.
Tomas Vokoun started the game, seeing fifteen shots and giving up four goals. Eric Hartzell finished the game stopping all four shots he saw.
Sidney Crosby said of the team's effort, "We still made some mistakes. It's the preseason, you're going to do that. But I think we got better. We've got some games here to get sharper."
Special teams played a big part in outcome, as the Pens couldn't capitalize on three first period powerplays and went 0-5 on the night. Detroit scored twice on the PP, both off Adam Almquist slapshots.
Brandon Sutter played with Jussi Jokinen and the returning Chris Conner on the third line, which looked like the Pens best. Matt D'Agostini was scheduled to play, but was scratched because his wife went into labor (priorities people). Conner's play caught the eyes of head coach Dan Bylsma.
"There are people in Games 1 and 2 that showed with their opportunity and earned another game in the next two games that we have," coach Bylsma said. "Chris Conner was one of those guys, Chuck Kobasew is a guy that really stepped forward with his opportunity, Dustin Jeffrey had a very good game (Sunday) in that game."
Guys not catching Dan Bylsma's praise were moved today. Forwards Jean-Sebastien Dea and Matia Maracantuoni along with goalies Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry were handed back to their junior teams. Paul Thompson, Tom Kostopoulos, Brian Gibbons, Dominik Uher, Clark Seymour, Reid McNeill, and Nick D'Agostino are now members of the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins. The big club has trimmed their roster to forty-four players.
The Penguins next preseason game will be Thursday, September 19th against the Blackhawks in Chicago. That game can be seen on ROOT Sports at 8:00pm.
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