This isn’t how you want to start, both in the result sense, in the way-things-went sense, and in a way in the this-is-your-first-real-game-together sense.
“There are a lot of mixed emotions, honestly,” Scott Pellerin said. “At the beginning of the game I thought they really came at us. You could tell we really didn’t have our game legs, that we didn’t have an exhibition game. We got back in the game.”
Did it feel that way, that it was a different kind of night because they hadn’t been out there as a group in a game situation?
“We don’t know each other 100 percent, but we’re getting closer,” Andrey Pedan said. “We’ve got a great team. There are just little things we need to work on, and we’re going to win games.”
The oddities of the AHL exhibition season are that you’re usually not going to have your opening-night lineup for a preseason game, particularly if you’re still playing in the Grapefruit League six days before the season starts, but the point stands: This was their first real game, and it looked it early, some nice chances aside.
There were some rough penalties, some rough pinches, some tentative moments amid some good moments (those goals were pretty nice). They picked up their game in the second, fueled by those goals — “We started getting pucks deep in their zone. Guys started protecting the puck. We started getting more shots to the net,” Pellerin said — but then one at the end of the second kept the Penguins from getting deflated.
Far from it, in fact, for 11 seconds and beyond in the third.
Power play: Persson-Sundstrom-Kabanov, Lee-Strome-Diamond; pairs Pedan-Jackson, de Haan-Ness. Penalty kill: Bruton-Wetmore, Persson-Sundstrom, Clark-Halmo once (as often as not Halmo was in the box), and late in kills, Strome-Lee. They used the Finley-de Haan and Ness-Mayfield pairs together.
Both units, it turned out, were equally busy, but the burden seemed to fall more on the penalty kill. I was thinking more about some of the pinches, but I wondered to Pellerin if youth sometimes leads to, maybe, an overexuberance, trying to do too much, maybe getting caught. He took it toward the penalties: “We set some objectives throughout the season and throughout every game. Seven or eight penalties like we did tonight is definitely not on our things to do. We talked about it. We’ll address it.”
Fighting majors: three. They’re ahead of last year’s pace.
First game as new chief of off-ice officials for Stan Capp. He replaces John Brillante, who took over the past few years after Bob Esposito stepped down. John, John Moroniti and Rhonda Vegliante won’t be working here as much this year as in past years, but as we saw with Rhonda and the latter John tonight, they may be around now and again.
Prescout. Darroll Powe ties it with 0.4 left: That must’ve been fun. Frederik Andersen picks up where he left off.
They’ll be in soon. More tomorrow.