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Roundup: Kunitz' pair helps Penguins rout Red Wings

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 12:20 AM / Roundup

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Roundup: Kunitz' pair helps Penguins rout Red Wings
NHL.com recaps the preseason action from Wednesday, September 25, including the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

The Pittsburgh Penguins finished the preseason looking like a team that's tuned up and ready to hit the ice for the regular season.

The Penguins got two goals and an assist by Chris Kunitz on Wednesday night as they polished off the Detroit Red Wings 5-1 at Joe Louis Arena in their final preseason game. The next time the Penguins take the ice will be for real; they host the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 3 in their season-opener.

Jussi Jokinen, Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams also scored, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each contributed a pair of assists and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 16 shots as the Penguins dominated play, outshooting Detroit 37-17.

"This was a complete game in a lot of our areas," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said.

The Penguins dressed a lineup that was close to the one it will use next week and looked ready to go.

"We didn't have a great preseason leading up to this one," Kunitz said. "I think we played a little harder, we watched clips, we talked about what we need to do. Maybe just play better in our zone and come with our speed. It's something that we did on the first goal, [I] got the puck out and Sid made a great play picking it up on the wall and making that play to [Dupuis] and putting it in. so that kind of just led us off to have a good game tonight."

Drew Miller's goal 12:49 into the second period was the only shot to beat Fleury. Detroit rookie Petr Mrazek, who led the Red Wings' American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, to the Calder Cup last spring, went all the way and made 32 saves for a team that sat star forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg as well as defenseman Niklas Kronwall. All three are expected to play Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"You have to have the puck more than we did if you're going to have any fun out there I'll tell you that," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "They came in here with an NHL-looking team and we didn't have one. We still have to play so many games we have to spread out lineup out and we have so many guys hurt. We weren't deep enough; we didn't have the puck enough so that's what I took from it."

Buffalo Sabres 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 0: Jhonas Enroth stopped 26 shots and Mike Weber assisted on all three goals as the Sabres blanked the Blue Jackets before an appreciative crowd at First Niagara Center.

"Jhonas, I thought was real strong in there," Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. "He saw the puck the whole night, even through traffic and I thought he made some real nice saves for us."

Ville Leino's goal 4:58 into the second period opened the scoring, and both of the Sabres' first-round picks in 2012 had goals in the third period. Mikhail Grigorenko gave the Sabres some breathing room when he beat Jeremy Smith at 9:10, and Zemgus Girgensons added an empty-netter.

Despite the loss, Columbus coach Todd Richards wasn't unhappy with what he saw from a lineup that was missing several regulars.

"I thought we played hard," Richards said. "I thought our effort tonight was better than the game against Minnesota [a 2-1 overtime loss on Monday]. It seemed like we were engaged in the game. The intensity was there."

Washington Capitals 4, Nashville Predators 1: Mikhail Grabovski showed he might be just what the Capitals need as a No. 2 center, setting up three goals to lead Washington past Nashville at Verizon Center.

Grabovski, a late signing after he was bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs, set up both of Eric Fehr's goals and assisted on Alex Ovechkin's power-play goal late in the second period. Nicklas Backstrom scored the Capitals' other goal.

"He's in good shape, he's a good guy in the locker room, and of course it's easier for me to talk to him because he speaks Russian," a smiling Ovechkin said.

Michal Neuvirth made 33 saves, but lost his shutout bid when Gabriel Bourque scored a power-play goal with 14 seconds remaining in regulation. Carter Hutton made 26 saves for Nashville.

Minnesota Wild 3, St. Louis Blues 1: Charlie Coyle continued to make an argument for top-six ice time in Minnesota by scoring his third goal of the preseason to back a 33-save performance by Niklas Backstrom against St. Louis at Xcel Energy Center.

Coyle scored his team-best third preseason goal on a breakaway 38 seconds into the third to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead.

"I can't say anything negative about his camp," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "He's been outstanding. We know this kid's personality, the way he trains, his motivation, I was pretty confident we'd see this."

Torrey Mitchell stole the puck from goaltender Brian Elliott two minutes later and scored on a shorthanded wraparound for a 3-0 lead. Matt Cooke had the first goal for the Wild.

Jaden Schwartz spoiled Backstrom's shutout bid with a shorthanded goal midway through the final period and was among the few players to earn postgame praise from Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

"He was by far our best player today," Hitchcock said. "His competitive level, speed and energy is contagious."

Ottawa Senators 5, Montreal Canadiens 2: Bobby Ryan gave his new team a goal and a scare as Ottawa rolled over the visiting Canadiens at Canadian Tire Centre in the first meeting between the teams since the Senators eliminated Montreal in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring.

Ryan's power-play goal gave the Senators a 2-1 lead after one period. He left the game with just over five minutes remaining in the second after a collision behind the net. Though he returned a few minutes later, coach Paul MacLean opted to sit Ryan for the third period.

"It wasn't overly hard, but it put me in an uncomfortable spot, hitting the wall," Ryan said. "Nothing too bad, just a burner. The way the game was going, they felt it was best to take some time and get the information out of it.

"I think we erred on the side of caution, which I certainly understand."

Cory Conacher, Clarke MacArthur, Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad also scored for the Senators, who visit Montreal on Thursday.

"Our execution and our ability to play with speed wound up making the difference," MacLean said. "I thought our players did a good job of staying focused and staying intense to make sure we won the game."

Andrew Hammond made 24 saves for Ottawa, allowing goals to Magnus Nygren and Raphael Diaz.

The Canadiens iced a six-man defense corps that had a combined 99 games of NHL experience, 82 of which belonged to Diaz.

"We tried to give an opportunity to the young kids; that's been our plan since about a week ago and we targeted this game. I think besides two guys, that was their full lineup," coach Michel Therrien said of the Senators. "It was a demanding game for young kids. Look at our defense and we didn't have much experience out there."

Phoenix Coyotes 3, Calgary Flames 2 (OT): Zbynek Michalek scored with 1:07 remaining in overtime to give the Coyotes a victory at Scotiabank Place after the Flames forced the extra session with a pair of third-period goals.

Michalek won it with a straightaway 55-foot blast that went through a screen and past Reto Barra, who's battling for the starting job in goal.

Phoenix took a 2-0 lead in the second period as Oliver Ekman-Larsson's shot was tipped in by Shane Doan for an early power-play goal and the defenseman scored an even-strength goal at 17:30. But goals less than two minutes apart by Lance Bouma and Corban Knight midway through the third period sent the game into overtime.

It was the fourth goal of the preseason for Bouma, who's battling for a place on the roster after missing most of last season with a knee injury.

"I think I did what I wanted to do coming into camp," he said.

Mike Smith stopped 29 shots for the Coyotes. Berra made 22 saves for Calgary.

Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com