Red Wings-Penguins wrap-up: an ‘off day’ for the Wings yields first preseason loss

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 5-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, and MLive’s Ansar Khan provided a recap of said game:

Pius Suter’s first-period power-play goal was all the offense the Detroit Red Wings mustered Sunday in a 5-1 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.

Detroit suffered its first exhibition defeat (3-1) after averaging 4.67 goals in its first three games.

Suter scored during a five-on-three advantage at 15:46, cutting the Penguins’ lead to 2-1. He converted a pass from Robby Fabbri. Vladislav Namestnikov also assisted.

Alex Nedeljkovic started in goal for the Red Wings and allowed four goals on 23 shots in 35:15. Victor Brattstrom played the rest of the way, yielding one goal on nine shots.

Kasperi Kapanen scored two goals for the Penguins (2-1). Danton Heinen had a goal and two assists while Jeff Carter and Kris Letang each scored a goal. posted a recap as well

Kasperi Kapanen scored two goals, and Danton Heinen had a goal and two assists for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 5-1 preseason win against the Detroit Red Wings at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.

Kapanen put the Penguins ahead 2-0 at 12:56 of the first period after Jeff Carter opened the scoring at 3:45. 

Heinen, who had the secondary assist on each goal, then scored at 15:15 of the second to extend the lead to 4-1. He signed a one-year contract with Pittsburgh on July 29 after he wasn’t tendered a qualifying offer by the Anaheim Ducks.

Kris Letang also scored, Carter (one goal, one assist), John Marino (two assists) and Bryan Rust (two assists) each had two points, and Tristan Jarry made 25 saves for the Penguins.

Pius Suter scored a power-play goal for Detroit. Alex Nedeljkovic started and allowed four goals on 23 shots before being replaced after Heinen’s goal by Victor Brattstrom, who made eight saves.

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan noted this in his recap

“They had a good lineup for certain,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “They’re missing (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin, so that’s two huge pieces and (Jake) Guentzel is out, so they have some pieces that are missing but they did have a fairly solid lineup. We didn’t play well enough.

“They do a good job of transitioning offense and I didn’t think we did a good enough job handling that. I didn’t think we got our shots through. We had opportunities to create more offense and we didn’t get our shots through. 

“It was just a night we weren’t good enough.”

Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 19 of 23 shots in 35 minutes of action, before Victor Brattstrom finished up.

“(Nedeljkovic) will be real good for us, he works his tail off,” Blashill said. “Tonight he had some squeak through I’m sure that he’d like back. But, guys, this is what the preseason is for. I don’t pass judgement on anybody in this short period of time. He’s played two halves. I’m fully confident he’ll give us good goaltending through the season.”

Among’s Ethan Sears’ “Three Takeaways“:

Defensive growing pains: As a power play came to an end for the Red Wings early in the second period, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang skated out of the penalty box with no Detroit players near him. All it took to create a 1-on-1 chance for Letang was a pass up the seam from John Marino, and when that chance came, Letang buried it.

That breakdown is the sort of thing the Red Wings would like to shake off as preseason rust.

“They do a good job in transition offense,” Blashill said. “I didn’t think we did a good enough job handling that.”

Sunday’s game as a whole falls under that category for the Red Wings’ defense. Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic let in four of 23 shots. The Red Wings let in a Kasperi Kapanen goal on a Pittsburgh power play and another one off an odd-man rush. There were mistakes that, during the first three preseason games, were a lot less common.

“Ultimately, guys, this is what the preseason’s for,” Blashill said. “I certainly don’t pass a whole bunch of judgement on everybody in this short period of time.”

Update: Also, from MLive’s Khan’s recap with quotes:

Forward Jonatan Berggren, set back by an injury in the Prospects Tournament, made his NHL preseason debut, registering one shot in 13:56.

“It was good to get Berggy in,” Blashill said. “It will be an adjustment, just to the small (ice) sheet and learn how to get to the inside. Hopefully we’ll get him in some more here.”

Berggren, the 33rd pick in 2018, is certain to start the season in Grand Rapids.

Of note from The Athletic’s Max Bultman:

Blashill says as of now Tyler Bertuzzi is not in for tomorrow— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) October 3, 2021

Blashill says Michael Rasmussen had “a little tweak.” Does not think it’s anything long-term, but Rasmussen not expected for the next few games.— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) October 3, 2021

Statistics: Here are the Game Summary and Event Summary:

In the multimedia department, there are no highlights, but the Free Press posted a 5:48 clip of coach Jeff Blashill’s post-game remarks…

The Wings’ YouTube channel posted a clip of Blashill’s remarks…

And Paul Kukla of Abel to Yzerman found a .gif of Pius Suter’s goal:

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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.