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Snap Shots: Blue Jackets 3, Penguins 1 (Preseason)

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena...

* Casey DeSmith played the whole game in goal, and I thought he looked really sharp. He was quick and athletic, tracking the puck well through traffic (which he said was his biggest focus since those situations are hard to recreate in the summer) and easily absorbing most of the shots that came his way. A prime example of that came in the first period when Boone Jenner found himself with time and space at the right circle, but DeSmith came way out to challenge and didn't give him anything to shoot at.

"I felt good," DeSmith said. "Definitely feel quick. Feel like I'm tracking the puck well. It's just (getting) that comfortability level."

DeSmith didn't have much of a chance on either of Columbus' first two goals. Their first came on a wide-open look during a power play, and their second deflected off of Erik Gudbranson's skate and in. Just a really solid performance from the Pens netminder.

* Overall, this was a rather uneventful game, but the kind that coaches love as both teams turned in solid defensive efforts. The Pens limited the Jackets to just 24 shots, and I thought the defensemen did a particularly good job of clearing away rebounds and second-chance opportunities, collecting the puck and making strong breakout passes to their forwards. 

While it would have been nice to see some more offense - with Pittsburgh's lone goal coming off the stick of Juuso Riikola - overall Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was pleased with the effort from his young lineup.

"I thought our guys played well," he said. "We had some quality scoring chances. I thought it was a fairly even game. I thought we competed hard."

* Sullivan said when it comes to the preseason, they have three different objectives. They want to familiarize themselves with the new players, give the young kids an opportunity to show what they can do and, most importantly, making sure that their veteran players are ready for Game 1.

If today is any indication, the NHL players who dressed in today's contest are well on their way to accomplishing that goal. They all had a lot of jump, particularly Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann - the latter of whom made his preseason debut. Sullivan singled them out as being two of the Pens' better players.

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