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Penguins notebook: Sutter line shines during scrimmage

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Craig Adams defends on Sidney Crosby in the first period during the Black And Gold game at Consol Energy Center Jan. 16, 2013.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Josh Yohe
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 10:10 p.m.
 

There has been much discussion about the Penguins' second line and, more importantly, who will play on its left wing.

The third line has no such concerns.

New center Brandon Sutter's line — he will be flanked by third-line mainstays Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy — was in mid-season form during Team Black's 5-4 victory over Team White in a scrimmage at standing-room-only Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

Cooke scored two goals, including one just 21 seconds into the contest, when he banged in a Sutter rebound. He scored another goal short-handed, with Sutter again setting up the play.

Kennedy also enjoyed a big game, scoring a goal and adding an assist. He scored in the shootout, as did Sutter.

Coach Dan Bylsma put together the trio on the first day of training camp. Given how the three played Wednesday, it seems likely they'll be together when the season opens Saturday in Philadelphia.

Orpik impact felt

Bylsma had said he wanted every aspect of the scrimmage to feel “like a real regular-season game.” Defenseman Brooks Orpik followed his coach's wishes.

Just 6:30 into the first period, Orpik saw Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Warren Peters skating with his head down in the neutral zone. And so Orpik did what he normally would do, sending Peters crashing to the ice with a thunderous check.

Bennett, Tangradi perform well

Both players battling to play on Malkin's left wing acquitted themselves well.

Beau Bennett, the leading scorer for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, scored the game's first goal for Team White. He danced around defenseman Philip Samuelsson by the left wing boards, cut toward the net and beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to the short side.

Tangradi did not register a point but did what coaches want from him when center Evgeni Malkin and right wing James Neal had the puck: He went to the net consistently.

Top power play shines

The Penguins' top new-look power play scored a couple of goals. Left wing Chris Kunitz dug a puck from Fleury and scored in the first period. Then in the third period, Malkin scored a five-on-three goal by burying a wrist shot past Fleury from the right circle.

Letang, Despres productive

The new defensive pairing of Kris Letang and Simon Despres enjoyed a productive evening after being on the ice for the first goal against. Letang recorded a goal and an assist, looking in mid-season form. Despres added two assists.

Showing appreciation

The Penguins named fans the No. 1 star of the game. That would be a first.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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