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Pens-Sens Prospect Game Blog

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins open the rookie tournament with a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators behind two goals each from Zach Sill and Dustin Jeffrey.

Defense leads to offense and closes out a victory for the Penguins. Eric Tangradi blocks a shot in his own zone and chips the puck off the boards to open space at center ice. Dustin Jeffrey catches up to it and slides a shot into the open cage for his second goal of the game. Penguins 5, Senators 3.

Things just got a little bit intersting here at JLC. Eric Gryba just ripped a shot from the right circle behind Thiessen to cut the Penguins lead to one. Penguins 4, Senators 3.

To me, this is just invaluable to have a guy like Simon Despres, who for my money has been the most impressive Penguin today, picking up major minutes trying to hold onto a lead. Instances like this are only going to help enhance his development and get him on the fast track to Pittsburgh.

John Hynes has called a timeout for the Penguins as they try to hold on to their two-goal lead down the stretch. Playing most of the game with just five defensemen, this was a great move by Hynes to get his top guys some rest.

Ottawa is finally able to take advantage of a power play as Bobby Butler again finds a way behind the Penguins defense. He ripped a shot past the glove of Thiessen despite being slashed on the play by Despres. Mike Hoffman had the assist. Despres picked up a slashing penalty as well. Penguins 4, Senators 2.

Geoff Walker goes to the penalty box after picking up a hooking penalty in the offensive zone.


One player who is going to be fun to track this coming winter is forward Tom Kuehnhackl, who will be playing for Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League. Kuehnhackl, the Penguins' fourth-round pick this past June, has made several creative plays in the offensive zone today to set up scoring chances for the Penguins. He also has an assist.

There was a scoring change on the third Pittsburgh goal as it should be credited to No. 24 Keven Veilleux instead of Alex Smigelski. Also, the Penguins kill off the Peters minor, making them 5-for-5 on the PK.

Taylor Peters picks up a boarding penalty to put the Senators on their fifth power play of the game.

One thing the Penguins are doing well today is they are using the boards to create odd-man rushes into the Ottawa zone. It has led directly to a couple of goals and several more scoring chances. Head coach Dan Bylsma has to love watching this as one of his goals for the big team this year is to better turn defense into offense with a quick transition game.

Brad Thiessen is going the distance today for the Penguins in goal as the puck is dropped to begin the final period.


There were some interesting things I found outside the John Labatt Centre as I walked around before the game. First, there was a farmer's market across the street, and man did the vegetables and fruit look good. Just outside the main entrance of the rink was a neat waterfall and a mist machine. I would love to put one of those outside CONSOL Energy Center for those hot summer days when you just want to cool off.

At the end of the second period it is the Penguins holding a controlling 4-1 lead over the Ottawa Senators at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario. Pittsburgh broke open a 1-1 game with three goals in a 5:32 span during the middle frame on tallies by Dustin Jeffrey, Alex Smigelski and Zach Sill (second goal of the game). Shots on goal are 19-17 in favor of Pittsburgh.

Things have kind of quieted down here a bit after the Penguins' goal scoring barrage earlier in the period.

Tyler Brown is given a two-minute minor penalty for interference as the Penguins look to kill their fourth penalty of the game.

Pittsburgh continues to pour it on as they score off the rush once again. This time its Zach Sill picking up his second tally as he and Geoff Walker both get cracks in the crease before Sill buried the puck. Eric Tangradi, who led the rush into the zone, had the second assist. Penguins 4, Senators 1.

Alex Smigelski increases the Penguins lead to 3-1 as he slams home a loose puck in the crease behind Lehner. Reid McNeill had the original shot for the Penguins from the left point. Tom Kuehnhackl picked up the second assist for Pittsburgh. Penguins 3, Senators 1.


Dustin Jeffrey gives the Penguins their first lead of the afternoon as he steals the puck shorthanded, makes a strong power move to the net and stays with the puck in the crease - kicking the rubber to his blade and sliding a shot into the cage. Penguins 2, Senators 1.

Pittsburgh is shorthanded for a third time on the afternoon as this time its Joe Rogalski picking up a slashing call.

The unfortunate injury to the Penguins Alex Grant in the first period has meant that 2009 first-round draft pick Simon Despres has gotten the chance to log even more minutes in all situations. Despres has already looked good getting off a low, hard shot from the point on the power play, joining the rush at even strength and on the last penalty kill he made a couple nice plays with his stick that resulted in the Penguins being able to clear the puck out of the zone.

The referees caught Tangradi cross-checking when they assessed him a two-minute penalty at the buzzer in the first period.


And the first period comes to a close with the score tied, 1-1. Eric Tangradi was involved with a couple of the Senators in front of the Ottawa crease and he apparently picked up a minor penalty as a result. Shots on goal through 20 minutes are 8-5 in favor of the Penguins.


Penguins defenseman Alex Grant has been taken to a local hospital for observation after leaving the game earlier in the period on a stretcher after being hit from behind.

Pittsburgh evens the contest as Zach Sill takes a feed in slot from Ryan Schnell and buries a shot between the legs of Lehner to pick up the Penguins first goal. Penguins 1, Senators 1.

Pittsburgh just fell to 0-for-2 on the man-advantage as the Penguins weren't able to score following a delay of game penalty against Ottawa. However, the Penguins are outshooting the Senators, 7-4.

The Senators draw first blood as Bobby Butler takes a pass streaking down the left seam, makes a move to his backhand and sneaked a shot through Thiessen's legs. Hoffman and defenseman Patrick Wiercioch picked up the assists. Senators 1, Penguins 0.

Ottawa does a great job killing off the major penalty as the Penguins really weren't able to generate any quality scoring chances during the five minutes. In fact, Ottawa had the best scoring chance when Mike Hoffman stole the puck away from Veilleux at the Pittsburgh blue line and walked in on a breakaway. Thiessen stood tall to make the glove save.


The Penguins are on a five-minute power play as a result of Dziurzynski's hit.

Already in the first few minutes the Penguins have had to kill a Simon Despres slashing call just eight seconds into the contest and now Alex Grant is down on the ice after being hit from behind in the near corner of the Penguins zone by Ottawa's David Dziurzynski. The Penguins training staff and medics are tending to Grant right now. We'll provide an update as soon as we receive one.

Besides Thiessen, here is the rest of the Penguins' starting lineup: Dustin Jeffrey at center with Eric Tangradi and Tom Kuehnhackl on the wings. Simon Despres and Carl Sneep were on defense.

The remainder of the lineup:

Tyler Brown-Casey Pierro-Zabotel-Nick Peterson
Tayler Peters-Alex Smigelski-Keven Veilleux
Zach Sill-Geoff Walker-Ryan Schnell

Joe Rogalski-Brian Strait
Reid McNeill-Alex Grant


2:00 PM:
Hockey season if finally upon us as prospects from the Penguins and Ottawa Senators organizations square off at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario as the 2010 NHL Rookie Tournament begins.

A couple of notes heading into today's games:

> Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach John Hynes will be directing the Penguins with the help of his assistant coach, Alain Nasreddine.

> Brad Thiessen gets the call in goal today for the Penguins. Thiessen went 14-14-1 last year for WBS. Robin Lehner gets the nod for Ottawa.

> Eric Tangradi, Brian Strait and Dustin Jeffrey will wear the "A" today and serve as the Penguins captains.

> Pittsburgh's scratches include forward Joey Haddad, defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and goaltender Patrick Killeen. Mattias Modig will serve as the backup netminder behind Thiessen.
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