Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 3-0 loss against the St. Louis Blues at PPG Paints Arena.
*The St. Louis Blues are probably the biggest team (size and weight) in the NHL, especially on their blue line. With the exception of Kevin Shattenkirk (6-foot), the Blues D corps range from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-6 and all weighing over 205 pounds.
With such big bodies there isn't a lot of room on the ice to maneuver. Skilled teams like the Pens have to either beat them with speed through the neutral zone, or they'll have to score the old fashioned way. That is, playing physical and getting dirty goals.
The Pens weren't able to do either. First, the Blues did a solid job in the neutral zone to negate Pittsburgh's speed game. Second, when Pittsburgh did get the puck in the offensive zone (typically via a dump) St. Louis took away its space to be creative. And the Pens weren't able to muster enough to score.
*The Pens wanted to dictate the terms of the game with their style of play. But it was the Blues that turned this into a tightly checked, battle of field position. St. Louis took away Pittsburgh's competitive advantage - their speed. A physical, slow game gave the Blues an edge and they exploited it.
*Pittsburgh entered the game with the NHL's 3rd-ranked power play. However, the unit went 0-for-5 against the Blues. It wasn't like they didn't have their chances - the most glaring were 2 posts hit by Nick Bonino and Evgeni Malkin. But, again, they couldn't solve Carter Hutton.
*Pens defenseman Brian Dumoulin returned to action after missing 10 games with a broken jaw. Dumoulin wore a protective face shield that covered his jaw. He logged 14:53 minutes of ice in the contest and blocked 4 shots.
*The regulation loss to the Blues was only the Pens' 3rd all season on home ice. The team is 20-3-2 on the year at PPG Paints Arena.