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Lange riding solo Saturday

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins travel to Detroit for their final game ever at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday evening. 

It will be impossible not to remember some of the magical moments that have taken place at the historic venue, particularly Pittsburgh's raising of the 2009 Stanley Cup at center ice.

But the game will also have a nostalgic feel for Penguins Radio Network play-by-play announcer Mike Lange for a different reason.

Lange will be calling the game solo as his normal right-hand man Phil Bourque, who handles the color analyst duties, will be in Philadelphia taking part in the Pens-Flyers alumni game in preparation for February's Stadium Series contest at Heinz Field between the intrastate rivals.

"It's just a throwback," Lange said of calling the game on his own. "It's something that's not new to me by any means. The first, I would say six, seven years I did them all by myself."

Lange, who first arrived in Pittsburgh for the 1974-75 season, is in his 42nd year as the voice of the Pens. During the 1970s Lange announced all the games on his own before radio and television were simulcast.

Since then Lange has had a partner in the booth. The Sacramento, California native has worked with Bourque since the 2006-07 season. The tandem has developed quite a unique chemistry together.

"I've learned to depend on Bourque," Lange said. "He's been a superb color guy for me and really adds a lot of dimension to the game. He's my right arm. He's been a big asset for me.

"I've learned to depend on him at times to give myself a breath and have him come in. He reads me really well now because of how long we've worked together. He knows when to come in and even throw something in."

The Pens and Flyers alumni celebrate 50 years in the NHL with a matchup at 7 p.m. Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center. Other Pens alumni joining Bourque will be Colby Armstrong, Ryan Malone, Troy Loney, Francouis Leroux and Doug Bodger. The Flyers will ice Bob Clarke, John LeClair, Eric Lindros and Simon Gagne.

While Bourque is back in action on the ice with his fellow Pens, Lange will be belting out Pittsburgh's final game at The Joe. But Lange is excited about the prospect of once again being a one-man show.

"It's just a different cadence, a different rhythm that you have," Lange said. "It'll be different. Fans may notice a little difference in the fact that there might be more pauses and less talking than we normally have. Hopefully, it'll be a good game to call."

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