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Aftermath: Penguins 5, Blues 1

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo Gallery: Pens 5, Blues 1
Blog: Pens vs. Blues Game Blog
Video: Game Highlights
Postgame: Bylsma | Fleury
Postgame: Cooke | McKee
Feature: Arena update | Cup party
Pittsburgh continues to jump on teams early in hockey games. The Penguins took a 2-0 lead and a 20-3 advantage in shots into the first intermission against visiting St. Louis. They fired the first 10 shots of the night and the Blues did not register a shot until 9:21 remained in the first period. St. Louis wouldn’t get a second puck at Marc-Andre Fleury until little more than five minutes later. Establishing such a dominating presence in the opening period mentally crushed a Blues team that has won only once since returning from opening the season in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Penguins had four power plays compared to only two for St. Louis. The Blues took the first four penalties of the nigh, allowing the Penguins to tally twice with the man- advantage to stretch their 1-0 lead into 3-0 in favor of Pittsburgh.

Another reason the Penguins were able to so soundly defeat the Blues on this evening is yet another facet of their game prevalent so often here in the first quarter of the season: puck support. Whether the Penguins have the puck on their stick or not, they constantly have more players surrounding the puck than their opposition. This has repeatedly created odd-man breaks for and turnovers against, a huge reason why they are outshooting teams by such a wide margin like they did on this night, 43-23.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Matt Cooke had a goal and an assist, four other Pittsburgh players scored, and the Penguins earned their sixth straight win by beating the St. Louis Blues 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Kris Letang had two assists, and Tyler Kennedy, Evgeni Malkin, Ruslan Fedotenko and Alex Goligoski had goals. Only five of Pittsburgh's 18 skaters failed to record a point in the win that pushed the Penguins' record to an NHL-best 8-1.

Evgeni Malkin celebrates his goal Tuesday night against St. Louis
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Burying a Team When Down
St. Louis came into the game confident after posting a 5-0 victory over Anaheim on Saturday night. The Penguins made sure they had no such thoughts of posting a win on this night, burying the hatchet into the Blues when they had them down. Pittsburgh totally dominated play in taking a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but they were a Blues’ score away from seeing that cut in half. The Penguins eliminated any such chance and theoretically iced the game by scoring twice in a 26-second span at the 7:29 and 8:05 marks of the second to build their lead to 4-0.

What Could Have Gone Better: Giveaways
The Penguins have been so effective in jumping out to an 8-1 start to the season that it has become tough to find parts of their game that can qualify as shortcomings, particularly on a night where they score the first four goals and register 20 of the first 23 shots. However the team did commit 12 turnovers compared to only five for the Blues.
The scoresheet says they combined for only one goal and one assist, however there was no doubt the tone for this night was set by the play of the Penguins’ two superstar centers. Malkin scored the Penguins’ first power-play tally of the night when he made the score 2-0 at the 12:28 mark of the first period. Crosby’s lone assist came when he set up Alex Goligoski for the Penguins’ fifth goal in the third period.

Scoring statistics lie on this night as Malkin and Crosby were both flying from the outset, generating scoring chance after scoring chance. Malkin had a career-high tying performance with 12 shots on goal while Crosby continuously set teammates up for good chances. In the first period Crosby nearly scored a goal on a rush to the net while diving to the ice following a setup from Chris Kunitz.
Pittsburgh scored first for the seventh time this season following a great pinch down the left-side boards by Jay McKee. He stepped up to retrieve a puck shot around rink by Matt Cooke in the near corner. McKee dropped the puck to Tyler Kennedy, who walked out of the far corner and rifled a slap shot from the top of the circle over glove hand of Chris Mason. Pittsburgh 1, St. Louis 0.

Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins made Andy McDonald pay for a high-sticking penalty as his wrist shot from between the circles beat Mason top shelf to the stick side. Malkin had taken an original shot on Mason, and the rebound of that chance was knocked right onto the waiting stick of Malkin by former Penguin Darryl Syder. Pittsburgh 2, St. Louis 0.

The Penguins scored their second power-play goal of the evening off a faceoff at the 12:31 mark of the second period. Jordan Staal won the puck back to the point where two quick passes from Mark Eaton to Kris Letang to Ruslan Fedotenko left the winger wide open at the top of the far circle. Fedotenko unleashed a laser over the glove of Mason to the short side. Pittsburgh 3, St. Louis 0.

Matt Cooke further increased the Penguins’ lead 26 seconds after Fedotenko’s tally when he deflected a Letang shot from the left point over the glove of goaltender Mason. Jordan Staal began the play with a strong power move out of the near corner where he fended off two Blues before feeding back to Letang at the point. Pittsburgh 4, St. Louis 0.

St. Louis finally got on the board with 12:54 remaining in the second period. Defenseman Erik Johnson took a pass at the far point from Patrik Berglund and sent a low wrist shot towards a slew of traffic in front of Marc-Andre Fleury. The puck was deflected in front by Paul Kariya past Fleury for the Blues only score of the evening. Pittsburgh 4, St. Louis 1.

The Penguins added their final tally of the night in the third period against former teammate Ty Conklin. Chris Kunitz began the play with a hard forecheck in the near corner, forcing a turnover and sending a pass around the back of the net to Sidney Crosby. Crosby hit Alex Goligoski at the top of the right circle and the Penguin blueliner fired a low wrist shot past the stick side of Conklin for the score. Pittsburgh 5, St. Louis 1.
Pittsburgh had to play nearly half of the game without Sergei Gonchar, who left in the second period with an injury and will be re-evaluated Wednesday according to head coach Dan Bylsma. Gonchar had led the Penguins in ice time through two periods, playing 16:23 before exiting. He did manage to record his sixth assist of the season on Evgeni Malkin’s power-play goal in the first period, giving him eight points (2G-6A) through the first nine games.

Defenseman Jay McKee continued his outstanding play, even managing to find his way onto the score sheet for the second time as a Penguin on Tyler Kennedy’s opening goal. McKee, playing the left side, made a smart play to pinch up the boards as Matt Cooke wrapped the puck around. He then dropped a pass to Kennedy who beat Chris Mason for the score. Playing against his former team of the past three seasons, McKee, who spoke openly of wanting to face some of his good friends, registered a season-high three shots on goal, with his best chance coming down the left-side seam with 2:16 to play in the first period.

The Penguins defensemen continue to be a huge reason why the team has been able to score four or more times in six of their first nine games, contributing to the score sheet night after night. The Penguins received points from four of their six blueliners against St. Louis, as Alex Goligoski scored a goal and Kris Letang (2), Mark Eaton and McKee added assists. For the season, Pittsburgh has received 25 points (5G-16A) from the back end, led by Sergei Gonchar’s eight points.
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, T. Kennedy (5), 11:19 1st period: Penguins 1, Blues 0
PIT, E. Malkin PP (4), 12:28 1st period: Penguins 2, Blues 0
PIT, R. Fedotenko PP (2), 7:29 2nd period: Penguins 3, Blues 0
PIT, M. Cooke (2), 8:05 2nd period: Penguins 4, Blues 0
STL, P. Kariya (4), 12:54 2nd period: Penguins 4, Blues 1
PIT, A. Goligoski (2), 9:44 3rd period: Penguins 5, Blues 1

> Tuesday was Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Mellon Arena. UPMC Cancer Centers were on hand to take donations from fans upon entering Mellon Arena while also sponsoring “Hockey Fights Cancer” rally towel distributed to all fans as they entered Mellon Arena. Wives and girlfriends of Penguins coaches and players wore HFC commemorative scarves and passed out cancer awareness pins and pink carnations.

> The Penguins are now 26-4-4 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 13-2-1 at Mellon Arena.

> The victory gives the Penguins a six-game winning streak, the second-longest winning streak the team has posted under Bylsma (seven-straight; Feb. 25-Mar. 10).

> The Penguins are now 11-2-1 in their past 14 home games against the Blues.

> With 43 shots against the Blues, the Penguins posted their highest total against St. Louis in 12 years. They had fired 28 or less shots against the Blues over the past 13 meetings between the two.

> Pittsburgh has now scored four or more goals in 20 of the 34 regular-season games under Bylsma. They are 20-0 in such instances.

> The Penguins are now 3-0 on the season when their top three centers, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, each record a point in the same game.

> With his assist on Alex Goligoski’s third-period goal, Sidney Crosby surpassed Ron Schock for sole possession of 10th place on the team’s all-time scoring list with 405 points. For his career Crosby has 136 goals and 269 assists.

> Crosby also moved within one game of reaching another milestone, as this was the 299th game of his career, meaning Friday night’s game against the Florida Panthers will be his 300th game played.

> With the win Marc-Andre Fleury improved to 8-0 on the season. Additionally, he now has an eight-game winning streak, the longest such streak of his career, besting his old high of seven set twice, most recently from Feb. 2-Mar. 3 of last season.

> Evgeni Malkin now has nine points in his past six games (3G-6A), giving him a team-leading total of 11 on the season.

> Malkin increased his scoring streak to three games (2G-2A). Alex Goligoski also extended his points streak to three games as well (1G-3A).

>With 196 career assists, Malkin still needs four to reach 200 for his career.

> Malkin’s 12 shots on goal tied his career high first established Jan. 14 of last season against Washington. Malkin’s 12 shots are the second-highest single-game total of the season behind Alexander Ovechkin’s 13.
"Every night we have been pretty consistent since the beginning of the year. When a team is able to get three, four, five goals a night, it’s always easier to win a game that way."
- Marc-Andre Fleury


Author: Jason Seidling

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