Red Wings-Penguins preseason quick take: Wings win 3-2 in OT via Rasmussen goal

The Detroit Red Wings tangled with the Pittsburgh Penguins in a preseason-opening exhibition game on Wednesday, and x came out on top.

The Red Wings dressed the following lineup…

Versus the following Penguins lineup…

1st period: The Red Wings and Penguins opened playing fairly even hockey, though some giveaways yielded a shot-and-then-man advantage for the Penguins at 3:48 as Dylan Larkin sat for high-sticking…

And the Wings’ PK was middling at best, but Howard and a goalpost bailed out the Wings.

The Bertuzzi-Larkin-Mantha line was by far the Red Wings’ best over the course of the first 10 minutes of play, and as the 10-minute mark passed, Larkin and Michael Rasmussen got solid scoring chances.

Rasmussen was taking some hard hits as well, and his learning curve will have to improve in avoiding-the-hit department if he is to survive in the NHL.

The Penguins also looked sharper and faster with the puck, but that may be in part because they had a preseason game under their legs in last night’s 3-2 loss to Buffalo, so the Wings were kicking off the rust to some extent.

As a result, Howard had to be sharp on a fair number of good first-shot chances, and Howard was just that.

In terms of “the kids”:

  • Vili Saarijarvi made some nice, effective offensive rushes with the puck off the right point;
  • Hicketts gave and took some big hits;
  • Cholowski looked like a patient puck-mover, but had a hiccup or two defensively;
  • Veleno looked sharp and smart skating-wise, but a the pace of play was a new thing for him;
  • Rasmussen, again, too some big hits, but he displayed smart decision-making with the puck and used his size to his advantage.

The first period wound up with the shots at 12-12, but as Mickey Redmond suggested, the Penguins got better scoring chances.

2nd period: FYI:

Pittsburgh opened the scoring as Derek Grant slid a one-timer past Jimmy Howard (off Dylan Larkin’s stick) at 0:18 of the 2nd period. 

 Nick Jensen, Danny DeKeyser, Dylan Larkin, Justin Abdelkader and Tyler Bertuzzi got caught running around, and the puck slid into the slot. Easy goal.

Of course, Jeff Blashill started tinkering with the lines early in the 2nd period, sticking with “duos” and sliding the next line’s center onto the “duos” for the top two lines, meaning that Michael Rasmussen skated with Larkin and Mantha, while Bertuzzi skated with Veleno and Abdelkader.

Tyler Bertuzzi hit the post at 3:41, at the end of an excellent shift. Bertuzzi only knows one way to play, and that’s at 100% effort.

In all honesty, Vili Saarijarvi impressed me most among the Wings’ young defenders. Saarijarvi displayed excellent mobility and smart decision-making while skating a little less hurriedly than usual. There was a calmness to his game that was apparent.

Christoffer Ehn also looked poised and patient playing in a defensive role.

Detroit headed to the power play at 4:14 of the 2nd as Bryan Rust went off for a trip.

The Wings went with Bertuzzi, Larkin and Rasmussen (net-front) at forward on the first PP unit, with Cholowski and Mantha on the blueline. Mantha got a great chance from Rasmussen at the end of the first unit’s shift (it would prove to be the power play’s only shot).

Jokinen, Veleno and Abdelkader played at forward on the second unit, with Hicketts and DeKeyser on the point.

Harri Sateri took to the net at 9:24 of the 2nd…

Pittsburgh was out-shot 21-14 at the halfway mark of the game.

Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made a tremendous stop on Abdelkader and then another one on Bertuzzi as Dylan Larkin got his passing machine going some 11:01 into the 2nd.

The Wings began to pour it on offensively as the 2nd period’s 2nd half continued.

Joe Veleno got a slick little tip on a long Dylan Larkin slapper at 15:10, but Jarry was dominant in the net…

And now, the company line:

Chris Terry put the puck off the post at 15:42, too.Terry, Ehn and Jokinen looked solid together.

Detroit finally scored when defenseman Trevor Hamilton sent a slap shot through Luke Witkowski and Wade Megan at 16:18 of the 2nd period.

The game was tied 1-1. Hamilton from Cholowski and Ford.

The 2nd period wound down and ended with Detroit leading in shots 31-18 overall and 19-6 in the 2nd period.

3rd period: Aside from a Jack Johnson-Michael Rasmussen tussle of the most minor of varieties, the 3rd period opened quietly, with the Red Wings continuing to pepper Jarry with shots and play continuing to flow fairly well.

Of all people, the Witkowski-Megan-Ford line gave the Red Wings some tremendous shifts over the first five minutes of the 2nd period, which is a good reminder that it’s the preseason.

Dylan Larkin got a great shot off 4:33 into the 3rd, via a pass from Hicketts, and the Red Wings headed to the power play as Sam Lafferty headed off for slashing at 4:33.

The Wings got some very good chances as Veleno, Jokinen, Abdelkader, DeKeyser and Hicketts jammed the puck in on Jarry, but the Penguins were quicker to loose pucks..

Larkin, Mantha, Rasmussen, Bertuzzi and Cholowski were solid but played mostly perimeter hockey.

As Mickey Redmond duly noted, the Wings and Penguins both began to play some regular season hockey some 9 minutes into the 3rd period…

And the Penguins managed to take a 2-1 lead 9:02 into the 3rd, as Ryan Haggerty fired a one-timer through Cholowski and over Sateri’s glove.

Detroit responded in a hurry as Nick Jensen raced the puck up the right wing side, Christoffer Ehn crashed the net and Jussi Jokinen scored off the rebound of Jensen’s shot to make it 2-2 at 10:00 of the 3rd. Jensen and Ehn got the assists on Jokinen’s goal.

Hits started to rain down as Justin Abdelkader whacked a Penguins and Pittsburgh got ornery some 12 minutes into the period, and the Red Wings ultimately headed to the penalty box at 14:50 as Luke Witkowski got tagged with holding the stick.

The Wings iced Ehn, Jokinen, Hicketts and Saarijarvi on one penalty-killing unit, and Bertuzzi, Ford, Jensen and DeKeyser on the other.

The Penguins hit the goalpost just after the penalty-kill expired, hit it again, and Sateri certainly had his hands full as the final 3 minutes of regulation ticked down.

Pittsburgh got tagged for delay of game with 29.5 seconds remaining in the 3rd period, and Justin Schultz took the penalty.

The third period ended tied 2-2, with Detroit having 90.5 seconds of PP time to begin OT.

OT began with Rasmussen, Mantha, Cholowski and Larkin as a 4-man PP unit:

Detroit won the first draw, got a shot on Jarry, won an offensive zone faceoff, and Mantha borke his stick sending a sneaky shot in on Jarry that was stopped once and then twice as Michael Rasmussne tried to jam the rebound home.

Detroit continued to cycle in the offensive zone for the remainder of their power play, and the Red Wings called timeout with 4:02 remaining in OT and 33 left on the PP to continue utilizing the “top four” PP unit.

Dennis Cholowski hit the goalpost with his slap shot as the power play wound down, but Dylan Larkin was first to the rebound, and he slid the puck across to Michael Rasmussen, who jammed the OT winner into an empty net.


Detroit won the game at 1:32 of OT. 3-2.

Here’s the Game Summary

And the Event Summary:



Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.