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Penguins Report: Game Day at St. Louis

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins


Verizon Game Day Report

Maxim Lapierre

David Perron

--Michelle Crechiolo


--Michelle Crechiolo

Thomas Greiss was the first goalie off the ice, so he'll get the start tonight in St. Louis while Marc-Andre Fleury will play tomorrow at home vs. Florida. It looks like winger Steve Downie will be scratched for the Pens, as he stayed on the ice for extra work long after his teammates had gotten off.

Also, a reminder that even though defenseman Christian Ehrhoff made the trip and participated in morning skate, head coach Mike Johnston said yesterday he will not play tonight against the Blues.

--Michelle Crechiolo

Captured a hilarious sequence between Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury today. Malkin was standing in the runway taping his stick when Fleury jokingly tried to push him aside so he could get through. That's when Malkin decided to "help" Fleury take the ice. These two are precious.

--Michelle Crechiolo


Malkin signs an autograph for a young fan even though he's wearing the wrong jersey

Geno and Sill have the same stick. Malkin takes his teammate's to inspect it

Mike Bales comes to Thomas Greiss' rescue with a new twig

Pouliot and Downie take the ice

Max Lapierre will be playing his former team for the first time since being traded to the Pens

David Perron was drafted by St. Louis in the first round back in 2007 and played 340 games with the Blues

Gary Agnew spent the last two years as an assistant coach with the Blues before coming to Pittsburgh

He and Rick Tocchet ran this morning's skate. Mike Johnston did not come out

Bennett and Spaling were having a deep conversation

--Michelle Crechiolo

The Pens are also holding an optional skate here at Scottrade Center. Participants are: Bortuzzo, Downie, Lapierre, Sill, Bennett, Spaling, Greiss, Pouliot, Fleury, Comeau, Despres, Ehrhoff, Perron, Adams.

--Michelle Crechiolo

Center Evgeni Malkin was echoing a line from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the Penguins locker room Friday at Southpointe.


“When you lose a couple games and aren’t playing right everyone gets nervous, coaches, players, the organization,” Malkin said. “(The situation is) not bad, but it’s not good. We know we can come back. I believe this team has good guys and good players. We need to support each other, relax and we’ll be back.”

The Pens are 0-2-1 in their last three games and haven’t found the consistency that they desire from their game. As a result, the Pens have fallen into fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and seventh overall in the Eastern Conference.

But Pittsburgh is just one point from second place in the division and only six behind the New York Islanders for the top spot. And there is still a lot of hockey left to play on the season.

Full story here.

--Michelle Crechiolo

Vladimir Tarasenko is having a breakout year in his third NHL season, as the 23-year-old winger scored twice in St. Louis' 5-1 win over Boston last night to give him 31 goals on the season. I talk a lot about him and more in my scout on the Blues below...

--Michelle Crechiolo

Here's a few game notes in infograph form...

--Michelle Crechiolo

Good morning from St. Louis, Pens fans! The team is here to play the Blues tonight at Scottrade Center, with the puck dropping at 8 p.m. Eastern time. The Blues are coming off a huge 5-1 win over the Bruins last night in this very building. They have an optional skate this morning, while the Pens will take the ice at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.

This will be an especially meaningful game for a couple of Pens, as
 tonight is Maxim Lapierre’s first game against the Blues since the Penguins acquired him from St. Louis in exchange for Marcel Goc on Jan. 27. In addition, David Perron broke into the NHL as a member of the Blues organization after being a 2007 first-round draft pick (26th overall) of the club. He totaled 198 points (84G-114A) in 340 games with St. Louis from 2007-13.

Here's a few game notes to get you ready for the matchup...
  • Last year the Blues swept the Penguins, 2-0, as the two teams combined for four goals (STL, 3; PGH, 1). Marc-Andre Fleury was between the pipes in both contests, stopping 56 of 59 saves for a 1.53 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage.
Prior to last year the Penguins had gone 3-0-2 in their last five contests against the Blues.
This season the Penguins are 11-4-2 against teams from the Western Conference. Their 11 such victories are tied for third most among Eastern Conference clubs.

  • Pittsburgh has had a penchant for playing close games recently. Three of its last four contests have been decided by one goal. The lone exception – Feb. 17 vs. Washington – featured an empty-net tally from the Capitals.

  • Tonight the Penguins begin their 12 set of back-to-back games. Thus far they have a cumulative record of 10-6-6; including 6-2-3 the first night and 4-4-3 in the second game.
Stick tap: The Pens' amazing communications staff

--Michelle Crechiolo
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