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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Preseason Game #2 Preview And Lineup for Tonight's Pens Game

It's another preseason hockey night in Pitsburgh! The Pens will take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus. Of course, it feels like it was just yesterday that these two teams kept blowing three-to-one leads against each other i the first round of the playoffs. Not as much on the line i a non-televised game, but here is a preview nonetheless!The game is not going to be televised, but the good news is Columbus will be streaming the game on their website. 
Here is the link

Steve Downie
Andrew Ebbett
Craig Adams
Pierre-Luc Leblond
Byran Rust
Zach Sill
Kasperi Kapanen
Adam Payerl
Dominik Uher
tom Kostopoulous
Tom Kuhnhackl
Marcel Goc
Conor Sheary

Scott Harrington
Brian Dumoulin
Harrison Ruopp
Christian Ehrhoff
Phillip Samuelsson
Alex Boak
Kris Letang

Thomas Greiss 
Jeff Zatkoff

What to watch for: 

Backup Goalie battle Thomas Greiss vs Jeff Zatkoff. I for one was pretty excited about the Pens bringing in Greiss as a backup for Marc-Andre Fleury. I was actually surprised that Greiss was not more in-demand during the off-season. Greiss has proven himself to be a solid backup goalie that could be good enough to start on a few teams in the NHL, posting a .920 career save percentage in 69 career games. Greiss is currently under contract for this season only and is on a one-way deal. 

His counterpart, Jeff Zatkoff, surprised many last year by being a competent backup for Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pens. Zatkoff won 12 of his 20 starts for the Pens, posting a .921 save percentage. Zatkoff is also on a one-way deal which means that he is not waiver exempt. Makes for an interesting battle for the backup spot and a tough decision for the team. 

Zatkoff statistics 

Greiss' stats

Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington: Last night we saw Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres get lots of playing time and they both looked really good in Mike Johnston's system. I am excited to see Dumoulin and Harrington get the same chance tonight, considering that both are more highly touted than Despres and Bortuzzo, and both had a great development and training camp. Dumoulin has looked like a man among boys in the AHL and during prospect camp and looks ready to compete an the NHL level now. The same can also be said 

Brian Gibbons: #SaveUsBrianGibbons was the hashtag that I used throughout the 2013-2014 in honor of the feisty Brian Gibbons. Gibbons is a speedy and gritty player who played well in a limited role for the Pens last year, even getting some playing time with Sidney Crosby. Personally, I wanted the Penguins to bring back Gibbons and I think he will do well in Columbus, playing with another former Penguin in Marc Letestu. 

Steve Downie: Perhaps, no other bottom-six forward is more polarizing than Dowie, besides maybe Matt Cookie. Downie is considered a goon by many, but a skilled goon at that. Downie will take cheap shots and try to get the other team off of their game by chirping at them, but has also shown the ability to produce and keep his own on top lines featuring superstar players. Downie could end up playing on all four lines by the end of the season. 

Lastly, there's the prized jewel, Kasperi Kapanen. Kapanen is the Pens top forward prospect by a mile. Originally, I had thought that Kapanen was going to be able to make the roster this year and make a real impact because he is that good. However, Kapanen is coming off of an injury that kept him out of the rookie camp. If Kapanen dazzles, I expect a big campaign for him to make the team from the fans. Kapanen is a little small right now and could use at least one year in the minor leagues before making the jump to the NHL. It will still be fun to watch him play at the NHL level though. 

Face-off is at 7pm. 

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