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Pens end road trip on high note

by Brian Hunter /
Sidney Crosby was in the lineup Saturday and doing just fine, thank you very much. By the close of the night, so were the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Crosby set up a pair of goals after exiting the previous game early because of an undisclosed injury and the Penguins doubled up the St. Louis Blues, 6-3, at Scottrade Center to snap a three-game losing streak.

Miroslav Satan had a goal and two assists, while Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy each had a goal and an assist. Six different Penguins put the puck in the net, and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 19 saves.

"You're not going to score six goals in this League every night," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "But I thought Crosby's line really set the tone. I thought Sid was really good for a guy who was questionable about playing."

Pittsburgh had its difficulties during a 1-2-1 road swing that began Oct. 25 with a shootout loss to the Rangers, a game in which the Penguins blew a 2-0, third-period lead, but was able to end the trip on a positive note.

"We had a tough start to the trip, with that game in New York slipping away from us, and to finish this way and head home hopefully with some momentum is good," said Crosby, who suffered a high-ankle sprain last season and missed 29 games.

The Penguins carried a 4-2 lead into the third, but Blues rookie center Patrik Berglund made things interesting when he netted his second NHL goal with 4:13 to play. It was also the 10,000th goal in franchise history. But Maxime Talbot responded just 40 seconds later and Jordan Staal got his first of the season into an empty net with 20 seconds remaining.

"You have to play with the lead, you have to learn to play with it," Crosby said. "It was a big way to finish. We got a little scare there to make it 4-3 and came back the next shift and got that two-goal cushion, and that's important."

St. Louis jumped to an early lead, as Barret Jackman and T.J. Oshie sandwiched first-period goals around Satan's score for Pittsburgh. The Penguins drew even 6:03 into the second thanks to defenseman Alex Goligoski, then took the lead for good when Malkin and Kennedy lit the lamp 37 seconds apart.

While the Penguins got set to head home, the Blues finished a stretch of seven straight in their building with just a 3-4 record to show for it. St. Louis is 5-5 after a 4-1 start.

"I don't know where we are as a team," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "How do we gauge it? That's a bit of a concern right now."

Goligoski, a rookie whose importance to the team increased when blueliners Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar were lost before the start of the season, picked up his third goal when he skated in from the left point and beat Chris Mason with a wrister from the high slot.

Malkin took advantage of an Eric Brewer holding penalty and gave the Penguins their first lead at 12:22 with a one-timer from just inside the blue line. Before the Blues could recover from that blow, Kennedy delivered another when he swatted the rebound of his own shot past Mason, who allowed five goals on 27 shots.

"To win in this League, you need 20 guys on edge, being intense, being urgent for 60 minutes a night," Blues forward David Backes said. "We probably have about 12 (players) for 40 minutes a night. When you have not everyone going for the whole game, you get ugly losses."   

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

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