Thoughts, musings, and observations from the Pens' 4-1 loss against the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena.
* First of all, it was fantastic getting the chance to play at Little Caesars Arena. When we first got to the building, players went straight to the visitors bench to get their first look. What stood out the most was just how, well, red everything is, as every seat in the entire bowl is a vivid shade of crimson. After that, we toured the concourse and were impressed by the mix of old and new. They brought over all of the statues of Red Wings greats like Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay from Joe Louis Arena, which were spread out on the concourse by a bunch of cool Detroit-themed restaurants and bars and other sleek, sophisticated elements. Just a cool atmosphere.
* Joe Louis Arena was infamous for its bouncy back boards, and the players joked that they made sure to test out the back boards here to make sure they didn't have the same elasticity. "Some of the guys mentioned the first thing they wanted to test out were how the boards reacted, so you saw a couple guys shooting pucks against the boards and seeing what was happening," goalie Tristan Jarry said. "I did a couple times too to make sure."
* Tonight was Jarry's first full game of the preseason, and I thought he looked solid while facing a lot of quality chances against, including a few odd-man rushes. He was in net for three of the goals, as the fourth was an empty-netter, and some of them were just skilled hockey plays. "I thought he made some real good saves at times during the game for us," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "I thought he might have lost his focus on one of those goals. But overall, I thought he made some real good saves."
* Sullivan wasn't as pleased with the play of the guys in front of Jarry. "I thought at times, we were competing hard. Didn't like the second period at all. I thought the second period, we got outcompeted and we talked about that in between periods. That's the one thing that we can control out there. It starts with puck battles and wall play and just being more determined than the guy you're playing against. I thought the second period we got outcompeted. I thought the first period we had a pretty strong period. In the third period I thought we played pretty well."
* Pittsburgh's lone goal of the game came off the stick of Scott Wilson on a heads-up play. A Wings player, who was the last man back, lost his footing while in possession of the puck. Wilson jumped on it and went in alone on Jimmy Howard, beating him five-hole.
* The Pens had another tremendous scoring chance thanks to a phenomenal play from Thomas Di Pauli. Di Pauli got tripped, but managed to reach out and force a turnover while flat on his stomach. He got the puck right to Freddie Tiffels alone in front, who tried to deke but got denied. If they could have finished off that play, it would have been incredible.
* Greg McKegg continues to impress. He was in and around the net all night making plays. He has so much speed and uses it to be so hard on pucks, and creates a lot for himself and his teammates as a result. At one point he overtook a defender to force a turnover and get the puck to Chad Ruhwedel for a scoring opportunity, and at another point he received a nice pass, gained the zone and started a strong O-zone shift. It feels like McKegg keeps building on every game, and right now, it feels like he's the top contender for that third-line center position.