By @StefanKubus –
Michigan names could be found all over the scoresheet in the Red Wings’ preseason opener Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In fact, you’d find the names of four on the box score in the Red Wings’ 3-2 overtime win over the Pens at Little Caesars Arena. Michael Rasmussen potted the overtime winner, a power-play tap-in goal right in front of the net off a Dylan Larkin feed. Jimmy Howard and Harri Sateri split the night in goal, stopping a combined 28 shots.
“We weren’t very good early,” head coach Jeff Blashill said of his team. “I thought as we got all four lines rolling, it helped us just because energy levels needed to be short and hard, just based on what’s preceded this first game.”
Photos by Michael Caples/MiHockey
Though not a Michigan native, Rasmussen will certainly be well-known as a Michigan name for the Red Wings sooner than later. Rasmussen was out on the Wings’ 4-on-3 power play in overtime alongside Larkin, Dennis Cholowski and Anthony Mantha.
“It’s good that they trust us like that,” Rasmussen said of the power play. “Obviously we have a great unit, so it was good to get the time out there and get to play so overall it worked out well.”
“I thought he was good, he’s got the big body, he’s got a long stick and he’s dangerous around the net,” Larkin said of his power-play linemate Rasmussen. “I thought he generated offense for our team and he’s great on the puck. Aside from that, he was great in transition, as well, using his long reach and big body to make plays.”
Though Rasmussen finished the scoring, it was Michigan State alum Derek Grant who opened it, just 18 seconds into the second period. Grant took a pass from behind the net and fired home a wrister at the left circle to put the Penguins up first. Pontiac native and HoneyBaked alum Bryan Rust drew a helper on the goal.
Grosse Pointe Farms native and Muskegon Lumberjacks alum Trevor Hamilton responded for Detroit with a shot from the right point through traffic that found the back of the net. Hamilton signed a deal with Grand Rapids after wrapping up a successful sophomore season with Penn State that saw him net 29 points in 38 games from the blue line.
Ryan Haggerty fired a laser from the left circle that beat Sateri high on the far side to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead near the midway point of the final frame.
Jussi Jokinen came back to tie the game minutes later with a rebound goal for Detroit, as Jarry couldn’t handle Nick Jensen’s shot from the right side and left a rebound right in front.
It took extra time to decide the game, and the Wings entered OT with a power-play chance. And the Wings made sure to cash in on it, as Rasmussen planted himself familiarly in front of the net for a tap-in from Larkin, seconds after Dennis Cholowski hit the post.
“It was a power play there, Cholo hit the post and kind of just bounced right to Larks and he made a great pass to me so it was pretty easy,” Rasmussen said of his goal.
Notes: Other Michigan names in the lineup for Pittsburgh included Cranbrook-Kingswood alum and Bloomfield Hills native Sam Miletic; University of Michigan and USA Hockey’s NTDP alum Jack Johnson and Novi native and Lake Superior State alum Zach Trotman. Detroit also dressed Dylan Larkin (Waterford), Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon), Danny DeKeyser (Macomb), Luke Witkowski (Holland) and Chris Terry (Plymouth Whalers alum).