Wilkes Barre _ In a team scrimmage that had over 8,000 fans in attendance, defenseman Alex Goligoski netted a hat trick to lead team Black (Rosters Link) to a 3-2 win Thursday night.
Team Gold struck first on the power play as winger Luca Caputi developed a net presence and put a shot past goaltender Brent Johnson at 15:10 of the first period . Assist went to Dustin Jeffrey who controlled the puck behind the net and found Caputi in the slot who fell to his knee when he shot the puck.
Caputi spent most of the game on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko, earning the games #2 star.
Team Black responded after Joey Haddad was called for a tripping penalty at 5:49 of the first. Alex Goligoski who will get a strong shot to run the left point on the 1st power play, read the situation and with Sidney Crosby controlling the puck on the right boards, Goligoski drove to the net (left side) and buried a one-timer past Marc Andre Fleury.
It’s a set play that Ryan Whitney excelled at during his time in a Penguins uniform.
Less than 8 minutes into the second period, Goligoski scored again beating John Curry with a blistering slap shot from the point. Eric Tangradi screened Curry on the shot who replaced Marc Andre Fleury. Fleury made 6 saves on the night.
Team Black was the better team in the second period but John Curry made a number of key saves to keep Team Gold in the game.
In the third, Eric Godard (Black Team) took an early penalty but Team Gold couldn’t convert on their power play chance.
Up 2-1, Goligoski scored minutes later to push Team Black’s lead to 3-1.
Michael Rupp (Gold Team) added a goal late in the third period. Rupp played center for most of the game.
Team Black went onto win 3-2. The team immediately traveled back to Pittsburgh following the game.
Goligoski was named the #1 star and will play against Toronto, Friday night.
*In his second audition on Sidney Crosby’s line and matched up against Evgeni Malkin’s line for much of the night, Eric Tangradi played well.
He provided a presence in front of the net. Had two point blank opportunities in the slot.
In the first he also hit a post.
*The same goes for Luca Caputi. Mis-handled the puck at times on the boards but in playing with Malkin for the first time in his career, it was a good first game.
Indications are Caputi will see some time with Malkin Friday night against Toronto.
Still, he doesn’t look as comfortable with Malkin that Tangradi looks with Crosby.
*What was nice to see was the fact that the players treated the scrimmage like a real game.
Penguins General Manager Ray Shero doesn’t permit fighting in training camp but there was a lot of up and down action and the intensity was high.
*The early front runner to win the No. 7 defenseman spot is not Ben Lovejoy but it’s
Pittsburgh native Nate Guenin. The team has been very impressed with his performance in camp.
He was very solid in his own end, getting top unit minutes with Sergei Gonchar. There’s a reason he was paired with Gonchar going up against Malkin’s line.
*Not a strong game for prospects Nick Johnson, Ben Lovejoy.
*Ruslan Fedotenko continues to have a strong camp. Had another breakaway opportunity tonight and looks extremely comfortable with Malkin.
I’m told Bill Guerin will only appear in two pre-season games. Penguins are going to monitor his playing time early in the season.