Newest Penguins produce so-so showing
It was decidedly a mixed bag for the newest Penguins in their 3-2 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at Consol Energy Center.
Defensemen Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin, along with center Mike Comrie, were playing for the first time in a Penguins uniform. Left wing Eric Tangradi, following a bizarre 24 hours, was playing in Pittsburgh for the first time.
"Some good things," Michalek said, "and definitely some bad things."
That about sums it up.
Martin seemed in the middle of the action most of the evening. He displayed his terrific passing ability by igniting a number of rushes, and he set up the first Penguins goal at Consol Energy Center with a deft saucer pass to Tyler Kennedy.
Of course, Martin also was on the ice for two Philadelphia goals and had an awkward exchange with defenseman Kris Letang that led to the Flyers' third goal.
"It will probably take a little while before everyone is totally comfortable playing with one another," Michalek said. "But we'll get better."
Michalek was generally a defensive rock, as advertised, and managed to set up the team's second goal when his shot on net was deflected in by defenseman Alex Goligoski.
Although Michalek isn't known for his puck skills, he plays a simple game offensively that can be useful.
"I was just trying to get it on net at that point," Michalek said. "Luckily, we got a stick on it. It was a big goal for us."
Michalek was on the ice for one goal against. He and Martin found themselves outnumbered in front of the Penguins' net, allowing Blair Betts to bang home a rebound.
"We were doing everything we could on that play," he said. "There was a turnover, and then, the rebound just went right to the guy."
Tangradi was effective after being sent to Wheeling of the ECHL on Wednesday only to be recalled early yesterday.
"That's what being a professional is all about," he said.
The Penguins' power play was probably at its best when Tangradi's large frame stood in front of the net, something that was clear during a two-minute stretch in the second period that saw the Penguins control play exclusively in Philadelphia territory.
"I definitely feel good about some of the things I was able to do tonight," Tangradi said. "I felt like I did a good job battling for pucks. There's a way to go for me, and no one likes losing our first game in this building. But I think I did a pretty good job."
Comrie found himself with a number of opportunities early while playing on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Tangradi. He wasn't able to convert on any of those chances, but still had them — which might be the evening's theme.
"We know we can play better," Michalek said. "But we have a good team."
It was a night of firsts at Consol Energy Center. Here's a look at the most memorable moments — and a few answers to future trivia questions — in the Penguins' first night in their new home.
First goosebump moment
Mario Lemieux, as only he can, ignited the loudest ovation of the evening by skating to center ice and christening Consol Energy Center.
Philadelphia's Danny Briere, who will forever remain the answer to a trivia question, tipped in a Mike Richards pass to give Philadelphia a power play goal at 2:51 of the second period.
Richards' play made the first goal as the Flyers captain delivered a perfect shot/pass to Briere.
Much to the delight of the home crowd, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby cleanly beat nemesis Richards on the first ever draw in Consol Energy Center history.
Matt Cooke was called for a holding penalty at the 12:09 mark of first period. Philadelphia's Claude Giroux drew the call, but the Penguins were able to kill the penalty.
Philadelphia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was magnificent in his NHL debut and might be the Flyers' goalie of the future.
First Penguins goal
Tyler Kennedy takes a feed from Paul Martin and buries a bad angle shot past Bobrovsky at 44 seconds of the third period.
First highlight-reel save
Marc-Andre Fleury robs Jeff Carter with 2:25 left in the third period.
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The Penguins lose to the Flyers, 3-2, on opening night at Consol Energy Center Thursday October 7, 2010.
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