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Porter Returns as Blues Get Set for Pens

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - Last night’s 5-1 win against the Boston Bruins carried with it plenty of memorable moments. A four-goal outburst in the second period. Petteri Lindbohm’s first career goal, Vladimir Tarasenko’s 30th and 31st, some great saves from Jake Allen.

Unfortunately, there’s not much time to reflect.

After today’s morning skate, the Blues got right to work on preparing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, less than 24 hours after last night’s win.

“Today will be a quick review of what happened last night, and we’ll get ready for Pittsburgh tonight,” Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said before today’s team meeting. “We know the energy they play at and we know the energy we’ve got to have for tonight. Let’s save it all and prepare closer to the game.”

If the Blues need any pointers on how to play Pittsburgh, Marcel Goc might be able to help. Goc played 55 games over the last two seasons with the Penguins before being traded to the Blues in January in exchange for Maxim Lapierre.

“If you look at the lineup, they’ve got a solid team over there,” Goc said of his former team. “We’ve got to bring our A-game tonight to give ourselves a chance to win this game. They might ask me for (advice), but there are no secrets to any team (in the NHL). You have to be ready and mentally sharp from the start. We’ll go at this like every other game.”

Since joining the Blues, Goc has played in 12 games, registering one assist. In 11 games with Pittsburgh, Lapierre has one assist.

“I think it’s a trade that helped both teams,” Hitchcock said. “We have a hunter mentality on our fourth line, and we needed someone to just kind of calm it down between the dots. Goc has done that for us. He’s allowed (Steve Ott and Ryan Reaves) to get turned loose and get after people. On the other side, Pittsburgh needed that size and durability that Lappy brings.

“For me, it’s a good trade for both teams.”

Tonight’s game, the third of a four-game home stand for the Blues, begins at 7 p.m. (FSMW, KMOX 1120 AM).

PORTER RETURNS

Chris Porter said he’s used to being in and out of the lineup, but he expects to have some butterflies tonight.

Porter will return after missing almost two months recovering from a leg injury.

“It was tough. I’ve never been out like this for that long,” Porter said. “There will be a little bit of nerves going into the first period. Hopefully I’ll get those out of the way early and play a good game. I think I’ve done everything I can to get back, and I’m champing at the bit to get in there.”

Said Hitchcock, “We’ve missed his energy. He’s after it, and he’s on the puck and he’s not fun to play against. That’s exactly what we need.”

BLUE NOTES

Hitchcock said he liked the defensive pairing of Lindbohm and Carl Gunnarsson last night. Their play allowed him to reunite the top pairing of Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester. Hitchcock said to expect the same defensive pairings tonight.

Brian Elliott will start in goal tonight against the Penguins. He’s won three of his last four games against Pittsburgh, stopping 145 of 150 shots. In the last meeting, Elliott made 33 saves en route to a 1-0 shutout victory on March 23, 2014 at Consol Energy Center.

Each of the last five meetings between the Blues and Penguins have been one-goal games. The Blues are 4-0-1 in those games.

Former Blue David Perron was traded from Edmonton to Pittsburgh on Jan. 2. Since the trade, Perron has nine goals and four assists (13 points) in 20 games with the Penguins.

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