Detroit Red Wings (0-1-0) at Pittsburgh Penguins (1-0-0)
This season is different than last in that the games against the Western Conference teams are spread out through the schedule, as opposed to being in blocks like they were last year. I'm not sure which one I like better... but tonight is the opener against the west.
Detroit is coming off of a loss at home against Vancouver to open the season. Hasek started the game in goal, and gave up three goals by the 5 minute mark of the second period. He only faced 17 shots total, but don't let that fool you - the Canucks scored their third goal at 5:41 of the third, giving them a three goal lead, and effectively shut it down. They only managed two shots in the third while protecting a two goal lead.
Detroit's loss, of course, doesn't bode well for the Penguins. The Red Wings will be quite unhappy at losing their opener at home and will be looking to take it out on our flightless birds. Here's hoping they don't.
The Pens, for their part, need to play the same game they did on Thursday, with FAR fewer penalties. Even though the Red Wings have lost a few guys (like Shanahan and Yzerman), they still have a highly potent offense. The best bet for the Pens is to keep the Wings off of the PP as much as possible.
The other key ingredient for the Pens is to get their own power play going. Thursday night saw the first two goals by the third line - that's not going to happen with any regularity. They need to get some scoring from their power play, along with the first AND second lines.
Look for Therrien to be somewhat more careful with some of his young guys tonight, especially Letang.
I'm looking for another win so we can start talking about the Pens as playoff contenders! Okay - maybe that's a bit premature... but it sure is better than last year!!
Let's Go Pens!