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Red Wings at Penguins - 02-11-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-There have been a lot of questions about Blake Comeau this season. Where would he fit in the lineup. Can he really play in a top-six role? Are the goals he's scoring a fluke? Will his scoring touch be impacted by his wrist injury?

-He answered the latest round of questions tonight by having a direct role in the Penguins' first two goals and sparking the team's second line in a 4-1 win tonight against the Red Wings.

-Comeau looked like the player who has surprised a lot of people in the first three months of the season. He was aggressive with his shot and with his body. He complimented Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist very well and helped make that line look truly dangerous for the first time in a long time.

-Comeau picked up a secondary assist on the Penguins' first goal just 1:51 into the game. After Kris Letang fired a slapper from the right point, it hit off the end boards and richochet to the right of the net. Hornqvist was right there to sweep it into the cage between the glove hand of Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek and the near post. It was Hornqvist's second goal (the other was an empty netter) in his eight games since returning to the lineup from a foot injury. He and the Penguins need it badly.

-Hornqvist wasn't particularly impressed with his goal. He said:

"I found a puck there. It was kind of lucky. But you know, if you spend enough time there, you know you're going to get one on your blade sooner or later."

-The Penguins made it a 2-0 game at the 12:51 mark. After Luke Glendening made a horrendous drop pass on his end boards, Hornqvist jumped all over the puck and fed it to Comeau in the slot. Comeau ripped a wrister by the blocker of Mrazek for his 12th goal of the season. It was a pretty shot as well.

At 3:04 of the second, the Penguins took a 3-0 lead. After Paul Martin made a great play to keep a puck in the offensive zone at the left point, he threw it down low to the end boards. Maxim Lapierre won a puck battle and chucked it off Mrazek from the left of the cage. Mrazek kicked out a bad rebound to the slot where David Perron cleaned it up for his 15th goal of the season. Call it a French Connection goal.

-The Penguins piled it on nearly five minutes later to make it 4-0 at the 7:52 mark. Rob Scuderi flung a wrister from the left point. Nick Spaling was positioned in the left circle and re-directed the puck behind Mrazek.

-After a hooking penalty to Steve Downie, the Red Wings scored their only goal on a power play at 13:26 of the second. Henrik Zetterberg fired a shot from the right circle which Stephen Weiss re-directed on net from the slot. Marc-Andre Fleury make the initial save but Rob Scuderi appeared to push it into the cage accidentally. That ended a lengthy shutout sequence for Fleury (More on that below).

-After replacing Mrazek in the second intermission with Jimmy Howard, the Red Wings came out strong and really generated quite a few offensive chance. The only problem was they didn't get all of them on net. They missed the cage a few times. Even still, they finished with a 9-4 advantage in third period shots but couldn't beat Fleury.

-Beau Bennett surprisingly returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for three consecutive games. He was played primarily on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Spaling. We'd be lying if we said we focused watching him all that much but he didn't certainly seem to be a liability. Mike Johnston was asked when the decision was made to play him:

"Basically after the morning skate, I just really thought I wanted to get him in this next sequence of games. I thought tonight, Detroit's a skating team. They're a skilled team. I thought it would be a good game to get him back in to. It's at home. We can get our matchups if there's an concern about a matchup. And I actually thought Beau did some good things tonight. The Spaling goal, the shot there, Beau's at the net. Beau's right there in front of the net. Those are some of the things he's got to add to his game. And I thought in the compete areas, he was good. I'm sure, like any young player coming back, you're nervous coming back in. But I thought he was good. He was fine. He did what we expected him to do."

-With Bennett in, Downie was bumped to the fourth line and Zach Sill was a healthy scratch.

-The lone wart on this beauty queen of a game for the Penguins was the power play. It went 0 for 2. It's now 0 for 12 over its past five games. Johnston almost sounded like a preacher offering a sermon on shooting the puck after the game:

"The first power play, I really like. I thought we had some good action, some good opportunities. But again, it's the shooting mindset. We have to get that shooting mindset down. And there was twice when I thought anyway looking at the bench live - I haven't looked at it on replay or anything - that they definitely could have shot. That shooting mindset has got to get there with that group."

-Mike Babcock was curt when assessing the game:

-The Penguins' first line generated some shots but it wasn't nearly as dangerous as the second line.

-Fleury was hardly tested in the first two periods but was under fire in the third. He really clamped down on the Red Wings during a push at a key juncture of the game.

-Mrazek was not that good. If He makes a few fairly basic saves on the Penguins' goals, this is a much different game.

-Justin Abdelkader seemed to annoy the Penguins from time to time tonight. In the second period, after stealing the puck on a delayed penalty and shooting it down ice into the Penguins' open net following the whistle. Brandon Sutter sort of charged at him but was held at bay by linesman Bryan Pancich. In the third, Abdelkader and Chris Kunitz got mixed up and nearly fought before a few players jumped in the scrum. Despite that, no one was penalized.

-The Red Wings led in shots on net, 24-21.

-The Red Wings led in attempted shots, 49-39.

-Henrik Zetterberg led the game with four shots.

-Malkin and Perron each led the game with three shots.

-Letang led the game with 25:44 of ice time..

-Kronwall led the Red Wings with 21:57 of ice time.

-The Red Wings had a 22-19 edge in faceoffs (54 percent).

-Zetterberg was 8 for 12 (67 percent).

-Brandon Sutter was 7 for 13 (17 percent).

-Simon Despres led the game with four blocked shots.

-Kyle Quincey led the Red Wings with three blocked shots.

-Fleury made a little history tonight:

-All four of the Penguins' goal scorers were players acquired by Jim Rutherford.

-Sidney Crosby appeared in his 600th career game.

-Lapierre's assist on Perron's goal was his first point with the Penguins.

-Letang (273 points) moved past John Cullen and Bob Errey (272 points each) for 26th place on the franchise's career scoring list.

-Paul Martin (102 points) moved past Nick Harbaruk and Warren Young (101 points each for 84th place.

-None of the Penguins' top three centers scored a point tonight.

-Some sights. The ice:

-If you ever wondered what the net camera looked like, here you go:

-Fans entering the barn:

-Joe Mullen:

-There were plenty of Red Wings fans on hand. Steve Yzerman:

-Henrik Zetterberg:

-Pavel Datsyuk:

-Nicklas Lidstrom and Todd Bertuzzi:

-Francois Leroux:

-A rare Martin Straka "Snoop Dogg" jersey:

-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins/Red Wings goaltender Ken Wregget:

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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No Connection

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Obama is being criticized for mentioning terrorism, the crusades, slavery and Christianity in the same sentence. It is tough to take a hard look at our own history. Doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. 

021215 No Connection

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Mason's career day lifts Duquesne to signature win

Written by Craig Meyer on .

When you’re among the 40 best 3-point shooters in all of Division I basketball, terms like “slump” come with a broad, pliable definition.

But after a tough three-game stretch, one in which he made just eight of 25 shots, Micah Mason was in need of a strong shooting performance, the kind that have defined his career.

Wednesday night, he – and, most importantly, his Duquesne team – got just that.

The junior guard made nine of 15 shots, and four of seven 3-pointers, for a career-high 24 points to help lead the Dukes (8-14, 3-8 Atlantic 10) to their most impressive win of the season, a 78-62 victory against George Washington at Palumbo Center only 18 days after trailing the Colonials (17-7, 7-4) by 36 in the second half of a 14-point loss.

“I don’t care if Micah makes his first shot, second shot or third shot – what I care about is that Micah needs to take 15 shots,” Duquesne coach Jim Ferry said. “It’s not a disconnect – he knows how to play the game the right way and he doesn’t want to take four shots – but he needs to take 15 to 18 shots a game for us. Today, I thought he was really aggressive.

“It’s February. Everybody’s fighting for something and I think our guys showed that tonight.”

Known primarily as a deep shooting threat, only four of Mason’s nine made shots came from 3, harkening back to the aggressive mindset Ferry mentioned.

Immersed in a drought, Mason did the only thing he knew could in the situation, spending even more time than normal in the gym over the past week, sometimes late into the night.

In a signature win, it showed.

“This definitely boosts my confidence a lot,” Mason said. “Just seeing the ball go in tonight and making plays…for the next game, it leads to a good, confident mindset. That’s what I’ve got to keep working on.”

Guard Derrick Colter added 18 points and made four of six 3s. The team’s two freshmen big men, Darius Lewis and Jordan Robinson, both recorded career highs in rebounds, with 12 and six, respectively. As a team, Duquesne shot 50.9 percent and 47.6 percent from beyond the arc.

The Dukes never trailed, giving it its second wire-to-wire win of the season.

Duquesne built a 33-21 halftime lead, with much of that success coming from something it has been unable to rely on for much of the season – defense.

After making 12 of 24 3-pointers in their first meeting, George Washington missed 18 of its first 20 shots and was unable to take advantage of 17 first half offensive rebounds, getting just eight second-chance points.

In the second half, the Colonials’ fortunes largely didn’t improve. After their lead was cut to 49-42 with 10:49 remaining, the Dukes scored seven unanswered points, five of which came from forward L.G. Gill, to cushion their advantage and regain control for good.

The game was one Ferry said his team talked about in the George Washington locker room two and a half weeks ago. It may be too late to salvage their season, but Wednesday’s win was, at the very least, an emphatic step in the right direction.

“That was a fantastic win for our team tonight and I thought it was a fantastic win for our program,” Ferry said. “That’s an outstanding George Washington team, one of the best teams in the league. To have a turnaround like that in 18 days, I think it really shows the character and pride of our group.”

NOTE

Guard Jordan Stevens and forward TySean Powell were suspended for the game for what a team spokesman described as "a violation of teams rules." They are the Dukes' third and fourth leading scorers, respectively, this season. When asked if the pair would be back for the team's next game, Ferry said “As long as they take care what they have to take care of, yeah.”

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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Semi-rapid reaction: Duquesne 78, George Washington 62

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Duquesne secured its biggest – and, perhaps, most surprising – win of the season, handily defeating a George Washington team, 78-62, that had a 36-point lead on it in a loss just three weeks ago.

Below is a brief synopsis of how the game played out, using a format that I created for my old Robert Morris blog on the P-G’s website. But I’m not married to this approach. If there’s a style of post you would rather see, shoot me an email and I can come up with one more readers would enjoy. After all, something like this blog is done for the enjoyment and benefit of the fans.

Turning point: Duquesne led wire-to-wire, so the game was technically decided in the opening minutes of play, but there was a notable moment of vulnerability in the second half. George Washington’s Kethan Savage buried a 3 to cut the Dukes’ lead to 49-42 with 10:49 remaining, a spurt led by a much improved shooting performance from the Colonials. From there, though, Duquesne scored seven unanswered points, five of which came from L.G. Gill. A line drive 3 late in the shot clock that I thought had no chance of going in really felt like a backbreaker, even with about seven minutes remaining.

Game ball: On a night in which Derrick Colter scored 18 points, Darius Lewis pulled down a career-high 12 boards and Jeremiah Jones quietly put together a really strong 10-7-7 line, Micah Mason was the star. The Highlands grad was back to his ridiculous shooting ways, burying 9 of 15 field goals for a career-high 24 points. And it wasn’t just his 3-point prowess that was impressive – his aggressiveness on offense and ability to get to, and finish, near the basket was excellent.

What it means: Duquesne’s season has been filled with creating inventive ways to lose close games against good teams, so tonight was obviously a positive step for it. At 8-14, the Dukes are basically playing for pride at this point, barring an unexpected A-10 tournament championship run. Knowing that they can not only beat one of the conference’s best teams, but do so incredibly convincingly is an important mental hurdle to clear. If it doesn’t help the rest of this year, it could pay some kind of dividend next season.

What’s next: A game Saturday at a UMass team that’s 15-9 this season and in a four-way tie atop the A-10 standings. Given how Duquesne’s performed on the road, a win would be quite a surprise. But if the Dukes do find a way to leave Amherst with a victory, it’s be just their second multi-game win streak of the season.

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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Comeau set to return - 02-11-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins left winger Blake Comeau appears set to return to the lineup for tonight's home game against the Red Wings after being sidelined 20 games due to a wrist injury.

Coach Mike Johnston suggested Comeau, who was removed from injured reserve this afternoon, would be a game-time decision but all signs point to him playing.

While Comeau had few limitations skating during his recovery, he was restricted in how often he could practice with a puck due to the nature of his injury. Regaining the power in his wrist was his biggest obstacle.

“The strength feels good,” Comeau said. “Shooting the puck, no problems. That what we wanted to make sure when I came back was there was no hindrance with it. I could just go out and play and I didn't have to think about anything lingering or anything like that.”

Comeau was on the second line alongside center Evgeni Malkin and right winger Patric Hornqvist. Prior to his injury, Comeau was primarily used on Malkin's right wing. He's capable of playing either wing.

“I played a lot of left wing in my career,” said Comeau. “I'm comfortable on both sides. It's no problem being on the left.”

Before suffering the injury in a 4-3 shootout loss at Florida, Dec. 22, Comeau was third on the team in goals with 11.

“Oh, he means a lot,” said Hornqvist. “He was playing really good for us before he got hurt. He brings some physicality and he takes the puck to the net. And he's a great skater.”

“I like what he's done so far this year, his body of work, “Johnson said. “He's a big physical guy and he can skate. And tonight is a skating game. So it's great to have him back and available for game like tonight because we're going to need that speed.”

(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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