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game recap

Penguins keep rolling with 5-1 victory over Blues

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

NHL.com

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Penguins keep rolling with 5-1 victory over Blues
St. Louis Blues 1, Pittsburgh Penguins 5


The Pittsburgh Penguins are doing their best to dispel the concept of a Stanley Cup hangover.

The defending NHL champions continued their early-season winning ways with a dominant 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night for their sixth consecutive victory.

The Penguins improved to 8-1-0, the best record in the NHL, while completely controlling play throughout the game. Tyler Kennedy, Evgeni Malkin, Ruslan Fedotenko, Matt Cooke and Alex Goligoski all scored for Pittsburgh, which outshot the Blues 43-23 and had 13 of its 18 skaters earn at least one point.

"When our four lines are going and everybody's clicking and playing well together, we can be a tough team to beat," defenseman Jay McKee said. "I think most teams, probably for good reasons, focus on Sidney (Crosby) and Geno (Malkin), and I think that's playing to our advantage. We're not just getting production from them; it's everybody."

Marc-Andre Fleury improved his record to 8-0-0 by making 21 saves.

The only down note for the Penguins was that All-Star defenseman Sergei Gonchar didn't play over the final 27 minutes because of an undisclosed injury. Coach Dan Bylsma said Gonchar would be evaluated Wednesday.

The Blues, who were coming off a 5-0 win at Anaheim on Saturday, never had a chance.

The Penguins took them out of the game early, outshooting St. Louis 20-3 in the opening period and scoring twice for a 2-0 lead.

"For us not to be ready to play the defending Stanley Cup champions is unacceptable," goalie Chris Mason said after his team fell to 1-3-1 in their last five games. "We come off a good second and third period in Anaheim against a very good team. I don't know if we're getting a little ahead of ourselves and getting a little cocky and thinking that it should be easier than it really is. ... To come out like we did against these guys, this is what's going to happen."

Kennedy opened the scoring at 11:19 on the Penguins' 10th shot, coming off the left boards into the circle and beating Mason with a rising slap shot from about 20 feet for his fifth goal of the season.

Andy McDonald took a high-sticking penalty at 11:09, and the Penguins needed less than a half-minute to capitalize. The Penguins controlled the puck and kept firing away until Malkin would up with the puck 15 feet away in the slot and beat Mason to the top corner. It was one of 12 shots for Malkin, who made life miserable for the Blues all night long.

"Right from the get-go, when you don't have the energy or the legs, it means you're reaching with your sticks so you're doing things you shouldn't be doing," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "Obviously with the shots -- total domination by Pittsburgh -- it was pretty clear to see such a drop-off and it is difficult to understand why we didn't have legs or energy."

"When our four lines are going and everybody's clicking and playing well together, we can be a tough team to beat.  I think most teams, probably for good reasons, focus on Sidney (Crosby) and Geno (Malkin), and I think that's playing to our advantage. We're not just getting production from them; it's everybody." -- Jay McKee

Fedotenko and Cooke made it 4-0 with goals 36 seconds apart in the second period. Fedotenko beat Mason from the right circle, just above the faceoff dot, at 7:39, and Cooke deflected Kris Letang's blast from the left point into the net at 8:05.

"To be able to come out and play the way that we did no matter who we're playing against is a good feeling," Cooke said.

Paul Kariya's tip-in at 12:54 of the second ended Fleury's shutout bid. But the Penguins kept the pedal to the metal, outshooting the Blues 15-8 in the middle period for a 35-11 margin after 40 minutes.

Goligoski added his second of the season at 9:44 of the second against Ty Conklin, who replaced Mason after two periods. The young defenseman leaked in from the right point to the middle of the circle and fired a perfect pass from Crosby into the far corner.

The Penguins, who had to scramble down the stretch to make the playoffs before running the table on the way to the Cup, are playing like a team that wants to lock up a postseason berth early and improve from there.

"It's a good feeling how well this team's playing right now," Fleury said. "I'm sure (a loss) will come, but hopefully we can keep it going."

--John Kreiser, NHL.com

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

scoring summary
1st Period
11:19
PIT
Tyler Kennedy (5) ASST: Jay McKee (2), Matt Cooke (3)
1 - 0 PIT
12:28
PIT
PPG - Evgeni Malkin (4) ASST: Bill Guerin (3), Sergei Gonchar (6)
2 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
07:29
PIT
PPG - Ruslan Fedotenko (2) ASST: Kris Letang (4), Mark Eaton (2)
3 - 0 PIT
08:05
PIT
Matt Cooke (2) ASST: Kris Letang (5), Jordan Staal (2)
4 - 0 PIT
12:54
STL
Paul Kariya (4) ASST: Erik Johnson (7), Patrik Berglund (1)
4 - 1 PIT
3rd Period
09:44
PIT
Alex Goligoski (2) ASST: Sidney Crosby (4), Chris Kunitz (5)
5 - 1 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
08:20
STL
David Perron  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
12:09
STL
Andy McDonald  Hi-sticking against  Brooks Orpik
19:44
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Slashing against  David Backes
19:44
STL
David Backes  Roughing against  Sidney Crosby
2nd Period
06:14
STL
Keith Tkachuk  Too many men/ice - bench
09:20
STL
David Perron  Cross checking against  Ruslan Fedotenko
14:50
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Too many men/ice - bench
3rd Period
04:17
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Holding against  Paul Kariya
goalie stats
Ty Conklin
SA: 8TOI: 20:00
Saves: 7EV: 7 - 8
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: .875SH: 0 - 0
Chris Mason
SA: 35TOI: 40:00
Saves: 31EV: 24 - 26
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 9
SV%: .886SH: 0 - 0
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 23TOI: 60:00
Saves: 22EV: 20 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 2
SV%: .957SH: 0 - 0