Past the halfway point of exhibition season, the Detroit Red Wings used the lineup that in large part projects to be the one introduced when they open the season in 10 days.
Monday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Little Caesars was marked the first time the Wings were playing after a complete day off since training camp began. It was a good test, too, as the Penguins brought a lineup that included Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.
The Wings topped 30 shots but played on their heels in the second period, and their special teams did not impress. It took pulling the goalie for an extra attacker to make it a close game, with the Wings falling, 3-2.
Who was in
Ville Husso played the first two periods, ceding the net to Jussi Olkinuora. It's a little different with the goalies, as Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic already are earmarked to share the net in Detroit. Tyler Bertuzzi played his first game after being dealing with soreness, on his old line with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond. Pius Suter centered the second line, between Jakub Vrana and David Perron. Michael Rasmussen centered Filip Zadina and Adam Erne, and Joe Veleno was with Kubalik and Jonatan Berggren. On defense, Moritz Seider was paired with Ben Chiarot, Filip Hronek with Olli Maatta, and Gustav Lindstrom with Simon Edvinsson.
Who was missing
Andrew Copp is projected to center the second line when he's cleared from abdominal surgery rehab, which could be as soon as the first week of the season. The big one missing Monday was 6-foot-8 Elmer Soderblom; he was supposed to play, but had to be scratched because of some upper-body discomfort. He has had a good preseason and could challenge for Erne's role. The challenge for Soderblom, Veleno and Berggren is to prove they make the Wings better, because all are waiver-exempt and therefore vulnerable to being sent to the minors if there's a numbers crunch.
Who stood out
Kubalik, a newcomer, was involved in multiple offensive situations in the first period. He was rewarded with a goal early in the third period, angling in a setup by Berggren. The Wings started the second period with 40 seconds remaining on a power play — and spent most of that time running around their own zone. It's only one power play, but it was a unit (Seider, Larkin, Bertuzzi, Raymond, Perron) that is likely to be duplicated in the regular season, and it wasn't effective. The Penguins, meanwhile, got power play goals from Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker, sandwiched around a marker from Danton Heinen. Larkin finished a behind-the-net setup by Bertuzzi with 2:40 to play in the third.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her latest book, On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings play regulars in preseason loss to Penguins