Michelle Crechiolo gives her three impressions from the press box of the Red Wings' 7-2 win against the Penguins.
1. SPRONG KEEPS SHINING
Daniel Sprong has arguably been the Pens’ best player throughout training camp, and his strong play continued tonight. Once again, Sprong was noticeable whenever he was on the ice – just like he has been in each of his other appearances with the Pens so far – and made an incredible play for a goal. Sprong just had his way with the Red Wings on the ice, starting when he carried the puck up the ice and split two defenders. Sprong then stepped around a third like he was a pylon before streaking to the net and banking a shot off a fourth Wing. I know we keep talking about his age and how he’s just 18 years old, but he certainly doesn’t look it. He’s playing like he belongs out there and like he wants to be here. And right now, Sprong’s actions are speaking louder than words.
2. LACK OF SEPARATION
Apart from Sprong, who has been an incredibly pleasant surprise, it feels like none of the younger forwards we felt were candidates to crack Pittsburgh’s roster have separated themselves. Especially the ones who have seen NHL time – like Bryan Rust and Scott Wilson – who were in the lineup tonight along with other oft-mentioned names Conor Sheary and Oskar Sundqvist. It’s not that any of them have played poorly; they’ve all played quite well, in fact. But none of them have had truly standout games, and I just don’t know if what we’ve seen from them at this point is enough to prove they should stay.
3. ODDS AND ENDS
I was looking forward to seeing David Perron on the left wing with Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel, but they weren’t able to get much going as a line during the game and Pascal Dupuis actually skated in that spot for most of the third period. So far, Chris Kunitz seems to be the front-runner to fill that position, at least to start the season. And while I know it’s just the preseason, the Pens’ defense struggled against these Red Wings for the second game as they’ve surrendered 13 goals to Detroit in two losses. There’s a lot of guys still competing for spots on the back end, so I’m looking forward to seeing who’s in the lineup for the Pens’ eighth and final preseason game in Carolina on Friday.