Here are a few takeaways from Pittsburgh's 4-2 loss to Detroit in their preseason opener on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena…
- The Pens wore their new white road jerseys for the first time, and they looked fantastic. See Ian Cole above.
- There was a scary moment in the first few minutes of the game. Detroit's Matthew Lorito drove the net and as he fell on his back, his skates went up and one nicked Marc-Andre Fleury under his mask. The Pens netminder went to the bench during a stoppage in play to get checked out and stayed in the game for two periods before Casey DeSmith replaced him for the third. Fleury sported some stitches after the game but otherwise, felt fine.
"It got a little piece there," he said. "The guy drove the net and just fell down, I felt a little something there. I was lucky it was nothing too serious. I knew it wasn't too bad. I knew he touched it, but it was just a little bit of a cut. I wasn't too worried. I just felt fortunate it wasn't deeper." Overall, Fleury said it wasn't the best he's felt in a game "but that's why we play these, to get back into a rhythm and I'm looking forward to playing again and getting some more games."
- This morning, Pens head coach Mike Sullivan and the rest of the coaching staff told their players that whatever their respective games are, they wanted them to bring it and bring it with a vengeance. That's exactly what Garrett Wilson did. The 25-year-old, who signed as a free agent with the Pens on July 7, scored both of Pittsburgh's goals and got in a fight - leaving him one assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick. "I thought he had a spirited game," Sullivan said. "He had some strong moves to the net. You can see his size and his strength down low underneath the hash marks. He protects the puck well."
Wilson saw a lot of time in the NHL with Florida - the team who drafted him back in 2009 - during both the regular and postseason last year, appearing in all six of their opening-round matchups against the New York Islanders. He already has a decent amount of NHL experience. If he continues to have play like this, he's definitely a guy we could see get a call-up to Pittsburgh at some point throughout the year.
- I wrote earlier that the two players I was looking forward to watching the most tonight were Scott Wilson and Derrick Pouliot. I thought Wilson played well in his first game action since early March. He was flying out there. One play that stands out is when he used his speed to negate an icing call, then dictated the play during a long offensive zone shift that ended with him getting a Grade-A scoring chance. Pouliot had his moments, but overall, Sullivan said they'd like to see him be more assertive with the puck and his decision-making.
"Just seeing things a little bit quicker and being more decisive," he said. "I think that will come in time, it's the first game. So obviously there's a lot of rust involved with a lot of the players involved out there. But we tried to put him in a lot of situations. We gave him a lot of power-play time. We had him on the penalty kill. We tried to use him in as many situations as we could to give him a chance to get himself into the game. I do think moving forward, we'd like to see him with just a little bit more conviction with his decision making."
- Jake Guentzel and Dominik Simon started getting to their games offensively towards the end of the rookie tournament in London a couple weeks ago. And they built on that today. Guentzel, WBS' leading scorer in the playoffs, and Simon, WBS' leading scorer in the regular season, read and reacted off each other nicely up the ice. On more than one occasion, Simon would hit Guentzel streaking up ice and they'd be able to gain the zone. I'm excited to see them in some more game action throughout the preseason.