Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 3-0 loss against Columbus at PPG Paints Arena in the Free Game for Kids.
* The Pens and Blue Jackets both concluded their respective preseason campaigns against each other. It was the perfect final tune-up before the regular season as both squads dressed what could likely be their opening-day lineups.
Despite that, the game still definitely had a preseason feel to it, lacking some intensity, especially the type that we expect from these two rivals. It wasn't a pretty game for Pittsburgh, but probably more importantly they it escaped the preseason without any injuries.
In my book, the biggest victory of any preseason calendar is getting in some work and getting out injury free.
* Pens goalie Matt Murray was criticized last year for his glove hand. He was certainly flashing the leather against the Blue Jackets, and sometimes in demonstrative fashion. If there are any lingering questions about his glovehand, Murray made sure to put them to rest.
* Though the Pens couldn't muster a goal on the board, it wasn't like they had a lack of chances. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky showed why he was last year's Vezina Trophy recipient, his second such piece of hardware.
Bobrovsky stopped everything the Pens threw his way, including a pair of spectacular stops on forward Jake Guentzel. On the first he reached back with an outstretched pad to deny an open net. On the second, Bobrovsky stoned Guentzel in the slot from point blank.
Pittsburgh generated its chances. But the guy between the pipes was just too good.
* Any time a goalie pitches a shutout, it's due to a lot of skill and a little luck. That was also the case tonight for Bobrovsky. Pens captain Sidney Crosby had two glorious opportunities that mirrored each other. On both occasions, Crosby carried down the far side and snapped off a shot that clanked off the post. Final post count for Crosby was: 2.
* Although most people have penciled in Carter Rowney as the Pens' fourth-line center, don't count out Jay McClement. He's in camp on a tryout, but he's a veteran player and, more importantly, a good penalty killer. Pittsburgh right now is looking for bodies at forward to help the PK. Look no further than McClement.
* Ryan Reaves collided with Brandon Dubinsky in the first period and both players were knocked off of their skates. Reaves got up and added a cross check to Dubinsky. I'm sure those two will get to know each other pretty well over the course of the season.