For those of you who might remember me, my old name was WBSPensFan297187, I will be covering a lot of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins this year on PensBurgh keeping you guys (and gals) up to date on the future of the Pens. So I figured with my first post I would take a shot covering a preseason game. Recap of tonight's game after the jump.
The Penguins offseason additions have not disappointed so far in the first two preseason games. Aaron Asham’s point shot through traffic slipped past Mathieu Garon and gave the Pens an early 1-0 lead just 34 seconds into the contest.
The Penguins power play also looked impressive in the first period, registering 10 shots during a 5-on-3, including a tough angle shot by Chris Conner that was redirected in by none other than Mike Rupp. Wagner added a secondary assist by keeping the puck in the zone and feeding it down low to Conner.
Midway through the first period the Blue Jackets looked overmatched, being outshot 13-1 and down 2-0 on the scoreboard. The Blue Jackets got themselves into the game at the 12:27 mark of the period, with Thomas Kubalik registering his first NHL goal. Kubalik snuck behind Alex Goligoski , took a cross ice feed from Antoine Vermette and put the puck behind Brent Johnson.
The second period was not as kind to the Penguins as the first. After losing an early power play nine seconds into it, the Pens took two straight penalties 20 seconds apart with defensemen Steve Wagner and Goligoski going to the box. The Blue Jackets took advantage of their first power play with Vermette again finding Kubalik, this time at the top of the crease. Kubalik made no mistake in beating Johnson 5-hole and tying the game at 2:35 mark of the period.
The Blue Jackets weren’t done there either. Just 26 seconds later Kyle Wilson found the back of the net with a high rising shot that beat Johnson to the glove side. Wilson stole a pass and led a 2 on 1 with Ethan Moreau before firing the shot past Johnson. That goal came on a 4 on 4 situation and saw the Blue Jackets come from a 2-0 deficit to take the lead 3-2.
The teams traded power plays and took matching penalties until a pretty display of passing resulted in the Pens tying the game at three. Chris Clark took a holding penalty at the 15:44 mark, giving the Pens their 6th power play of the night. Mark Letestu then took a great pass in the faceoff circle from Goligoski and fired a one-timer that Chris Kunitz tipped past Garon.
After being outshout 21-9 and outplayed throughout most of the first two periods, the Blue Jackets climbed back into the game and narrowed the shot advantage to 24-21 before the second period concluded.
John Curry replaced Brent Johnson in goal for the start of the third and the Pens appeared to have pulled away adding goals by Nick Johnson and Mike Comrie. Johnson’s goal on the power play was a goal scorer’s goal, a hard high shot that nicked the crossbar on its way in. That was also the third power play goal of the night and they finished 3 for 8 on the man advantage. Mike Comrie made it 5-3 tipping in a shot from Letestu at the 12:08 mark.
But the Blue Jackets would not fade away into the night. Thomas Kubalik added his third goal with the extra attacker on the ice late in the third period. The hat trick for Kubalik, in his first NHL action, would not be enough and the Pens left Columbus with a 5-4 win. The win makes the Pens 2-0 in the preseason with their next game tomorrow night back at the Consol.
The Line combinations I saw:
Comrie – Letestu – Kunitz
Conner – Jeffery – Johnson
Cooke/Adams – Talbot – Asham
Cooke/Adams – Rupp – Godard
Martin – Gogo
Lovejoy – Wagner
Engelland – Bortuzzo
My 3 stars…..
3. Thomas Kubalik, CBJ – Preseason or not, a hat trick is impressive and I’m sure the rookie will get a second look by the Blue Jackets after his performance tonight.
2. Mike Comrie, PIT – A goal and 8 shots tonight, looked impressive alongside Letestu and Kunitz on the powerplay, racked up 16:15 minutes.
1. Mark Letestu – I was really impressed with Letestu’s play tonight. His two assists were both great shots tipped in by his line mates. He’s certainly making his case for a spot on the team and with Jordan Staal likely to miss some time at the beginning