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Penguins vs. Blues Game Preview

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Home: 2-3-0-4
Road: 3-0-0-6

WHEN: Oct 23, 2010 - 8:00 pm   |   WHERE: Scottrade Center
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
St. Louis Blues
Home: 2-0-0-4

  Pittsburgh Penguins at St. Louis Blues 
David Backes
F  -  #42
  1 Goal
  2 Assists
  3 Points
• Talented goal scorer has scored 48 goals over the past two seasons, while surpassing the 40-point plateau on both occasions.
• Plays the game with an edge, as evidenced by his 100-plus penalty minute totals each of the past two seasons.
• Earned a silver medal with Team USA at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver when he was one of the most-consistent American forwards throughout the tournament.
Brad Boyes
F  -  #22
  1 Goal
  2 Assists
  3 Points
• The 28-year-old sniper is coming off a down season which saw him record just 14 goals and 42 points following back-to-back seasons of 33 and 43 goals.
• Has never missed a single game due to injury throughout his six-year career.
• Starred for Team Canada at the 2006 World Championships playing on a line with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.
Erik Johnson
D  -  #6
  0 Goals 
  1 Assist
  1 Point
• Was selected No. 1-overall by the Blues in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, one spot before the Penguins took Jordan Staal second overall.
• At 6-foot-4, 232 pounds, he is considered one of the top young two-way blueliners in the game after finishing last season with 10 goals and 39 points in 79 contests.
• Missed the entire 2008-09 season due to a torn ACL he suffered in a golf cart injury during the offseason, before coming back strong last year.
What a gauntlet the St. Louis Blues face this weekend at Scottrade Center. On Friday night, they host the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. They follow that up by taking on the Penguins, who won the ’09 Cup, less than 24 hours later.

Luckily for the Blues, they have two quality netminders between the pipes to give them a chance both nights.

Penguins fans need no introduction to Jaroslav Halak, who almost single-handily eliminated Pittsburgh from the postseason in May thanks to his outstanding heroics for the Montreal Canadiens. Halak is with St. Louis now, having been traded during the offseason. He has given the Blues a chance in each of his four starts, going 2-1-1 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.

Halak’s backup, Ty Conklin, is no slouch either. The former Penguin stopped 23 of 25 shots in his only start of the season against Dallas on Oct. 16. Over his past three seasons – one year each with Pittsburgh, Detroit and St. Louis (plus one game with the Blues this season) – Conklin has won games at a 60.3 percent clip (53-29-10).

Up front, the Blues have a young and dynamic offense led by David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and David Perron. Veteran sniper Brad Boyes is a two-time 30-goal scorer while Andy McDonald has scored 50 or more points in four of the past five seasons.

Defensively, the Blues have a trio of emerging blueliners in former No. 1-overall selection Erik Johnson, Alex Pietrangelo and Carlo Colaiacovo. Captain Eric Brewer and former Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) winner Barret Jackman provide a shutdown presence.
  • A victory on Saturday night by Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would make him the seventh-youngest goaltender in NHL history to reach 150 wins. If Fleury were to pick up win No. 150 on Saturday night he would be 25 years, 329 days old.
  • For the second straight year, the Penguins are proving to be road warriors early in the season. Pittsburgh currently owns a perfect 3-0 record away from CONSOL Energy Center. Last season, the Penguins tied a franchise record by winning their first seven road games. The Penguins are one of three NHL teams (New Jersey; San Jose) to record 20-plus road victories each of the past four seasons.
  • Captain Sidney Crosby currently finds himself in a familiar position – the top of the NHL scoring race. Crosby’s current five-game scoring streak (6G-4A) has catapulted him into a tie with former linemate Marian Hossa at the top of the leader board with 11 points (6G-5A). Crosby’s six goals place him behind only Hossa and Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin (7 each).
  • How about this for production from the back end? Of the 27 goals the Penguins have scored this season, at least one of their defensemen has figured in on 22 of them (81.5 percent). Pittsburgh has received 27 points (6G-21A) from its blueliners thus far.
  • Penguins forward Mike Comrie is quietly riding a three-game assist streak (4 total). Look for Comrie’s success to continue on Saturday night, as the veteran forward has always played well against the Blues. In 20 career games against St. Louis, Comrie has posted 22 points (9G-13A).


Traffic In Front of Halak: The Penguins will be the first ones to admit they didn’t make life difficult enough on Jaroslav Halak during the postseason. Judging by Pittsburgh’s performance against Nashville on Thursday, don’t expect that to be an issue this time. All four Penguins’ goals against the Predators came as a result of players driving the front of the net for rebounds or screens.

Superstars Shine:
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have led the Penguins on a stretch which has seen the team win five of its past six games. Both players carry matching five-game scoring streaks. During the stretch, Crosby has picked up 10 points (6G-4A) and Malkin seven points (2G-5A).
C Jordan Staal, foot (indefinitely)
F Arron Asham, upper body (2 weeks)
D Zbynek Michalek, upper body (1 to 3 weeks)
D Brooks Orpik, groin strain (day-to-day)

RW Cam Janssen, concussion, sternum contusion (indefinitely) 
Crosby (6) D'Agostini (3)
Martin/Letang (6) Oshie (4)
Crosby (11) Oshie (5)
Rupp (20) Brewer/Winchester (21)
Letang (+9) Pietrangelo (+3)
Crosby (3) Five Tied (1)
Cooke (1)
Crombeen (1)
Johnson (4-0-0) Halak (2-1-1)
Johnson (1.49) Conklin (1.85)
Johnson (.950) Conklin (.920)

Kris Letang - The Penguins’ defensive corps has led the way through the early going, and Kris Letang has been at the forefront of the charge. Letang, who ranks second in the NHL among defensemen with eight points (2G-6A), is riding a three-game scoring streak (2G-4A) after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime and adding two assists against Nashville on Thursday.
David Perron - A 20-goal scorer last season, Perron struggled out of the gate at the beginning of the 2010-11 season, recording just one assist through the first four games. That all changed on Monday night in Chicago when Perron notched his first two goals of the season in a 3-2 overtime loss.

Penguins Report: Ice Zone Practice   
 Fleury Rebounds To Spark Victory Over Predators     
 Letang's Overtime Tally Finishes Off Predators 
Aftermath: Penguins 4, Predators 3 OT      

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Author: Jason Seidling

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