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Monday, September 22, 2014

Preseason Game 1 Preview: Penguins vs Wings, Lineups, 3 players to watch

The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to play an actual hockey game Monday night, albeit a preseason game. Still, hockey is hockey and we are sure as Hell glad to have it back. The Pens will be hosting the Detroit Red Wings in the first preseason game of the 2014-2015 season. Here's a look at the Pens lineup for tomorrow night:


Anton Zlobin
Beau Bennett
Blake Comeau
Bobby Farnham(?)
Brandon Sutter
Jason Megna
Jean-Sebastien Dea
Josh Archibald
Nick Spaling
Oskar Sundqvist
Patric Hornqvist
Scott Wilson

Paul Martin
Reid McNeill
Rob Scuderi
Robert Bortuzzo
Simon Despres
Taylor Chorney

Marc-Andre Fleury
Matt Murray

Guys to keep your eyes on: 

Simon Despres. Despres is basically in a battle with Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Dumoulin, and Scott Harrington to be the sixth defensemen on opening night. Despres has the talent to be an every-night d-man but the former regime was not a big fan of his. Despres has the fact that he is waiver exempt going for him so if he plays well I expect him to winning the job as the sixth guy. Looking forward, even if the Pens do not have Despres in their long-term plans, it would be in their best interest to play him as much as possible to build his value up, considering he is a former second-round pick with tons of upside. 

Despres has 15 points and is a +18 in 85 career games in the NHL. 

 Jayson Megna. Megna made his way throughout the lineup last year due to injuries. He certainly took advantage of those opportunities, which included playing a line in a short stint with Evgeni Malkin. Megna is a feisty player that can skate well and isn't afraid to go to the net. Megna did struggle with defensive assignments last year, which he still needs to improve on. However, if the Pens want to all four lines to embrace puck possession and offensive chances, having Megna beat out Craig Adams for a spot on the fourth line. Megna has the fact that he is on a two-way contract going against him. Perhaps the only way Megna gets to play with the NHL Pens this year is due to injuries once again, and let's hope we do not have a repeat of last year. 

Megna has 5 goals and 9 points in 35 career NHL games. 

Nick Spaling and Patric Hornqvist. Ok so I cheated here. It is always fun to watch the new big names play in their first game as Penguins. Eyes will be on Spaling and especially Hornqist all year. Everyone that has been at camp have been delighted in what they have seen from Spaling, who has to defy his underwhelming advanced stats all year. Hornqvist will eventually be playing on a line with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, but in his first game as a Penguin he will play with neither of them. 

The game starts tomorrow night against at 7 pm and will be televised on the CW. 

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