Pens score 6 goals, end 3 game skid

Pittsburgh 6- St. Louis 3

Going into Saturday’s game the Penguins had not won a game in St. Louis since 1998.  After a three game road skid, the Pens knew they would need a big performance from the entire team.

1st Period:

The Penguins came out quick, tallying the first four shots of the game.  However, the Blues dominated the physical play, which lead to a Barret Jackman slapshot from the point.  The puck may have deflected off a Penguin defender, but nevertheless, the Blues led 1-0.

St. Louis GOAL- B. Jackman (2); Assists- McClement, Backes

Later in the first, Miroslav Satan brought the puck up from the centerline, and somehow managed to control the puck after it bounced off the Blues defense, and ripped a wrister behind goalie Chris Mason for the first Pittsburgh goal.

Pittsburgh GOAL- M. Satan (6); Assists- Crosby, Letang

Only 17 seconds later, David Perron made a good play out of the corner to find T.J. Oshie with an open shot on the doorstep for the second Blues goal.

St. Louis GOAL- T.J. Oshie (2); Assists- Perron, Kariya

Meanwhile, the Pens’ power play continued to struggle on the road, starting 0/2 in the first period.  The Pens continued to get out-played, especially along the boards.  With the change in lines and roster, obviously we expected to see a few mistakes due to chemistry and communication.

2nd Period:

Looking to find an answer, Satan won a battle in the corner to find Alex Goligoski at the point.  A quick wrister and the game was tied at two.

Pittsburgh GOAL- A. Goligoski (3); Assists- Satan, Sydor

What happened next was nothing short of déjà vu, when the Blues appeared to have scored a goal just 32 seconds later, but was waved off because of a high stick.

The Penguins finally cashed-in on the power play when Evgeni Malkin took a wicked slapshot from the blue line for the goal and the first Pens lead of the game.  The play was set-up by a great behind-the-back pass from Crosby, which was tipped by Sykora, but sat perfectly for a slapshot from Malkin.

Pittsburgh GOAL- E. Malkin (4-PP); Assists- Sykora, Crosby

37 seconds later, Tyler Kennedy made a play behind the net and attempted a wrap-around.  After being denied on his first attempt, Kennedy continued to stuff and found the net to expand the Pittsburgh lead.

Pittsburgh GOAL- T. Kennedy (3); Assists- Cooke, Gill

With just 12 seconds left in the second, there was a post-whistle scrum involving Sidney Crosby and a number of Blues, and the veteran Petr Sykora jumped into the pile to stand up for his team.  When “slippery Pete” is throwing the punches, you know something is up.  The fight shown by the Pens in the second was the best we had seen in over a week.  The team scored three goals in the second, more than they had scored in each of there last three games.

“You want to make sure your confidence level is there, and I think we had it…It’s just a matter of making sure we’re focused on playing 60 minutes, especially in this league.”  -Sidney Crosby (courtesy Penguins.com)

3rd Period:

The Pens continued to out-hustle the Blues in the third period.  The momentum clearly carried over from the second, and the Pens would finally find a way to win.

With under five minutes to play, Patrik Berglund got a lucky bounce off the stick of Matt Cooke, took a shot, and scored on his own rebound.

St. Louis GOAL- Berglund (2); Assists- Kariya, Perron

Now it was time for the Penguins to answer quickly.  Just 40 seconds later, Satan brought the puck up through the neutral zone and left a pass for Max Talbot, who took a quick wrister to put the Pittsburgh lead back to two goals.

Pittsburgh GOAL- M. Talbot (2); Assist- Satan

The Blues pulled goalie Chris Mason with a little less than three minutes left in regulation.  This created an opportunity for Jordan Staal to finally get the monkey off his back.  Evgeni Malkin fed the puck to Staal from center ice, and Jordan scored his first goal of the season.

Pittsburgh GOAL- J. Staal (1-EN); Assists- Malkin, Kennedy

Game over.  Pens win 6-3.

Game Stats:

Shots: Pens- 28, Blues- 22

Faceoff Wins: Pens- 36, Blues-27

Three Stars: (1) Sidney Crosby, (2) Miroslav Satan, (3) Evgeni Malkin

The Pens also managed to keep the #1 power play unit in the league scoreless on three chances.

My Take:

I really liked Max Talbot on Crosby’s wing.  Mad Max is a tough guy who will battle in the corners and make plays in front of the net, similar to Ryan Malone.  He is also a guy you can count on to protect his captain, while also creating some offense.  Though Fedotenko could be most productive on Sid’s wing, and Satan could score potentially score 25+ goals skating next to Crosby, Max Talbot is the perfect fit on the first line.

Thoughts on Janne Pesonen:

The Finland native played only 9:52 in his NHL debut, but showed signs of a bright future.  Pesonen did not register a shot on goal, and finished with a -1 plus/minus rating.  Though he did not have much ice time, he hustled on every play, and even showed some signs of physicality.  It is clear, however, that he still has some work to do.  This was his first NHL game, so you could only expect so much.  Nevertheless, I like what I saw out of Pesonen, but also realize it will take some time until he reaches his full potential.

~Dan @ Pittsburgh Puck Talk

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