Red Wings' Rasmussen helps his cause with OT winner vs. Penguins

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Detroit center Michael Rasmussen send the puck past Pittsburgh goalie Tristan Jarry for the game winning goal in overtime.

Detroit — Michael Rasmussen, who is battling to make the Detroit Red Wings roster one year after being drafted in the first round, scored the winner at 1:32 of overtime, tapping in a feed from Dylan Larkin on the power play for a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

A Pittsburgh delay-of-game penalty with 30 seconds left in regulation gave the Red Wings the power play. The goal was Rasmussen's first of the preseason.

“It was good, I thought I played well, and I just have to keep building and getting better,” Rasmussen said.

Trevor Hamilton (Grosse Pointe Farms) and Jussi Jokinen scored for the Wings, Jokinen just 58 seconds after Pittsburgh's Ryan Haggerty scored at 9:02 of the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie. 

The Red Wings outshot Pittsburgh 43-30 including 19-6 in the second period, when Hamilton scored, tying the score.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 3, Penguins 2, OT

“We weren’t very good early,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We got a little better as the first (period) got along and obviously in the second we were real good. It’s been a hard camp and today we went (practiced) for a long time. As we got four lines rolling, it helped us.”

Derek Grant scored 18 seconds into the second period for Pittsburgh.

Here a some takeaways from the first exhibition game:

Michael Rasmussen

Rasmussen’s game will be analyzed and scrutinized throughout the exhibition season as he battles for a roster spot that is likely his — but still has to earn it.

Rasmussen didn’t do anything to hurt his cause.

Rasmussen set up Anthony Mantha for a great scoring chance on a second-period power play, Mantha getting robbed by goalie Tristan Jarry.

In close, playing in tight quarters, Rasmussen was again impressive using his big body and being strong on the puck.

Early in the third period Rasmussen got into a brief shoving match after pushing defenseman Jack Johnson (Ann Arbor/Michigan) into Jarry.

And to cap things off, he scored the winner.

Rasmussen had a team-high six shots in 17 minutes, 14 seconds, with two hits and one takeaway.

“Ras started a bit slow but he got much better as the game went along,” Blashill said. “He was doing things he needs to do, he was engaged, he had a big hit in the second period, he’s real good around the net.

“As much as we talk about skating in this game, size matters, and boy, he’s a big man.”

Nice moment for Hamilton

It didn't matter if this was an exhibition game, Trevor Hamilton will remember the moment.

The Grosse Pointe Farms native — Hamilton played college hockey at Penn State — is a defenseman in camp on a professional tryout.

Hamilton lifted a shot from the right point that fluttered off a Penguin's stick and flew over Jarry’s shoulder into the net at 16:17 of the second period.

Hamilton and Larkin were teammates at the U.S. National Development Team program in Ann Arbor, classmates at Ann Arbor Pioneer when they were in the USA program, and their families know each other.

“That was awesome,” Larkin said. “I’ve known Trevor for a while. He used to pick me up on the way to school in Ann Arbor when he was 18 and I was 17. He played on that powerhouse Honeybaked (junior) team, they won everything. I grew up watching and following him, I know his dad real well.

“I wanted him to score more than anyone today.”

Jimmy Howard

Howard was eager to get games started and he began on the right foot.

Howard stopped 14 of 15 shots and was sharp for the first game action of the season. He had no shot on Grant’s one-timer from the dot.

Harry Sateri replaced Howard midway in the second period — part of coach Jeff Blashill’s plan to get goaltenders work. Sateri also stopped 14 of 15 shots.

“Both guys were good,” said Blashill, who likes having Sateri in the organization providing depth. “Depth at every position is extremely important. I saw Sateri at the world championships and I’m a fan. He played against us in Florida last year. He does a real good job.

“He’s had a real good camp so far, and we’re going to have to have real good goaltending to be a successful hockey team and we’ve got the guys in place that can give us that.”

Dylan Larkin-Tyler Bertuzzi

The two Wings had great jump all game.

Larkn used his speed well and set up numerous scoring chances for his linemates. Rasmussen and Mantha both were on the receiving end of potential scoring plays from Larkin in the first period.

Bertuzzi had a great deflection cruising through the slot in the first period, was physical and made some defensive plays.

A typical Bertuzzi evening, effective in a variety of ways.

Larkin also was one of the alternate captains for the Wings, along with Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser.

The job on defense

Dennis Cholowski had a two assists in 23:33, and Joe Hicketts had five shots and two hits in 20:49, as both had good games as the battle for a job on defense began to take shape.

Vili Saarijarvi is destined for Grand Rapids, but Saarijarvi was also effective in over 18 minutes of ice time.

“All three of those guys were real good,” Blashill said. “We’ll keep watching and evaluate.”

Twitter: @tkulfan