Mike Comrie beat Detroit's Chris Osgood just 82 seconds into the first hockey game ever played at the Consol Energy Center, paving the way for a 5-1 Penguin win over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
Sidney Crosby had a goal, an assist, and six shots on goal before sitting out the third period with a sore hip flexor. Thankfully, the injury is not believed to be serious, because that would've put a pretty serious damper on an otherwise exciting night for the Pens and their sellout crowd of 18,087.
Ryan Craig, a free agent pickup on a two-way contract who's spent the past five seasons in Tampa Bay, scored twice for the Penguins. Red-hot Brett Sterling scored the other goal on the night for Pittsburgh.
Brooks Orpik looked to be in midseason form, knocking Johan Franzen out of the game with 1:43 left in the first period with an injury described as a charley horse by Detroit's radio broadcast. Defenseman Ruslan Salei scored the only Detroit goal on the night, beating Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period.
Fleury played the first two periods for the Pens, stopping 20 of 21 shots he faced. Brad Theissen stepped in as the closer, stopping all five shots the Red Wings mustered in the third period.
Evgeni Malkin had a relatively quiet Consol debut, with just one shot on goal that hit the post. The newly-signed Comrie led the team in that category with seven, followed by Crosby's six, Sterling's five, and Eric Tangradi's four. The Penguins outshot the Red Wings 37-26 in the contest, including a 20-7 margin in the first period.
Jess Boulerice made history in winning the first fight at the new arena, administering a beatdown to the Wings' Aaron Downey after the Penguins had run up a 3-0 lead late in the first period. Orpik was next in line to drop the gloves after his hit to Franzen, throwing down with notorious thug Todd Bertuzzi towards the end of the first. Both players received game misconduct penalties for their efforts.
All in all, it was just about a perfect evening for the Penguins, Crosby scares aside. The preseason picks up again on Friday night at Columbus, followed by home game #2 on Saturday night against the very same Blue Jackets.
Penguins defeat Red Wings, 5-1 [Dave Molinari/PG]
Penguins-Red Wings Game Blog [Jason Seidling/PittsburghPenguins.com]