Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 6-3 loss against the Detroit Red Wings in their final game at Joe Louis Arena.
*The Pens love to use their speed and aggressiveness to control the play. What they don't want is to play an up-and down, chance-for-chance contest. That's exactly what unfolded in the team's final contest at Joe Louis Arena. And in this game, it was Detroit that outgunned Pittsburgh.
*The tide of the game was turned in the third period. Pittsburgh was trailing 4-3 when it appeared to tie the game off of a Scott Wilson tip in front. However, the Red Wings challenged goaltender interference by Evgeni Malkin on the play and the refs waved off the goal. In replays, it appeared that Justin Abdelkader, not Malkin, was the player responsible for knocking netminder Jared Coreau to the ice. Regardless, the referees still called it a "no goal."
The referees judged that Malkin pushed Abdelkader into Coreau. Head coach Mike Sullivan countered with, "That's not how we saw it."
*The Pens defense suffered a blow with the loss of Kris Letang just three minutes into the game. Letang was caught up with Thomas Vanek, spun around and fell down on his knee. Letang then slid into the end boards. He left the game immediately. Letang returned a few minutes later and tested out his injury during a TV timeout, but after one shift he went back to the locker room and missed the rest of the game. There was no update on his status following the game.
*The Pens defensive corps were stuck playing without best player, biggest playmaker and top-minutes eater as Letang only logged 126 seconds of ice time. The duties were split among the 5 remaining blueliners with Trevor Daley leading the way at 25:37.
*Matt Cullen is arguably the Pens' best penalty killing forward. He is not known as much for his power-play abilities. In fact, he hasn't scored a man-advantage goal since Feb. 27, 2014 against Tampa Bay while playing for the Nashville Predators. So he seemed out of place as the team's net-front during a power play in the second period. But wouldn't you know, Cullen buried a rebound opportunity for his first power-play tally in nearly 2 full years.
*The Red Wings broke the Pens' back with a power-play goal from Mike Green halfway through the third period to make it a 5-3 game. Pittsburgh had killed off the first of 2 penalties against, but Bryan Rust broke his stick on the play and Detroit had basically another 5-on-3 advantage. After a scramble at the crease, Marc-Andre Fleury was able to keep the puck out. But Green sniped shortly after and iced the game.