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Penguins at Blues - 01-24-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

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-First things first. Penguins stat god Bob Grove put together a nice video piece about the 1974-75 Penguins and their rivalry with the Blues:

-EN Read Leah Backus is at the game and sends in this view of the rink at Scottrade Center:

(1296 x 968)

-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Craig Adams, Matt Cooke, the great Joe Vitale, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Classy move by Dan Bylsma to start the great Joe Joe Vitale, a native of St. Louis, in this game.

-Steve MacIntyre will dress tonight. The Penguins' scratches are Arron Asham, Ben Lovejoy and Eric Tangradi.

-The Blues' starters are Jason Arnott, Matt D'Agostini, Jamie Langenbrunner, Barrett Jackman, Roman Polak and Brian Elliott.

-Their only scratch is Chris Porter.

-Leah report that the announcement of the great Joe Vitale as a starter brought a cheer. He is one of eight natives of Missouri who have reached the NHL.

FIRST PERIOD

19:06: Evgeni Malkin takes a pass on the right wing, gains the offensive zone and flips a fluttering backhander on net from the right wing. Elliott fights it off.

18:44: Malkin rushes his way up the right wing, dodges a check on the boards and attacks the net from along the goal line. He tries to jam in one low against Elliott but no dice.

17:13: Tyler Kennedy races up the right wing and snaps off a wrister which Elliott fights off.

15:24: T.J. Oshie controls the puck, fends off a stick check from Michalek and snaps off a wrister. Fleury kicks it out.

14:47: Vladimir Sobotka snaps off a wrister from the left wing. Fleury gloves it.

13:37: Richard Park snaps off a wrister from a tough angle on the right wing. Elliott hangs on to the puck as Matt Cooke jabs him hoping for a rebound. Barrett Jackman takes exception and gives the business to Cooke.

12:50: Park drives a big slapper from the right wing. Elliott hangs onf or a save. A scrum develops in front of the crease. Sobotka socks Sullivan in the face with an ungloved fist. That's two mintues for roughing. Sullivan, Malkin, James Neal, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang take the ice.

11:02: Oshie leads a shorthanded three-on-two rush up the left wing. He tries to fling a cross-ice pass to Patrik Berglun on the right wing but James Neal hustles back on a backcheck to break it up.

10:51: One second before Sobotka's penalty expires, Matt Niskanen hits Oshie fom behind in the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone. That's two minutes for cross checking. Brooks Orpik, Adams, Michalek and Cooke take the ice.

9:29: Alex Pietrangelo drives a slapper from the left half wall. Fleury fights it off despite traffic.

8:42: Orpik tries to play the body on Oshie along the right wing wall of the Penguins' zone. Oshie senses the hit and just slams Orpik to the ice. Oof.

8:27: David Perron and Neal mix it up in front of the Blues' bench. Perron hacks Neal in the back of the legs. Neal goes down. Perron is called for slashing while Neal gets a diving minor.

7:38: Pietrangelo snaps off a wrister from the right point. Fleury gloves it.

7:09: Oshie leads a furious rush up the right wing, gains the offensive zone, slide so to the slot against Orpik and snaps off a tricky backhander. Fleury fights it off. What an effort by Oshie.

6:46: Roman Polak collects a loose puck at the top of the slot and snaps off a wrister. Fleury eats it up.

5:59: Kennedy smacks Pietrangelo from behind in his right wing corner. Pietrangelo crashes into the boards face first. No call.

5:12: Park tries to gain the offensive zone down the slot but is hammered to the ice by Polak for his troubles.

5:05: Scott Nichol hustles up the left wing and catches Martin flatfooted. He rushes in on net and tries to jam in a forehand shot low but Fleury holds it out. Jamie Langenbrunner is there in front of the crease. Fleury prevents his rebound chance.

3:30: Sobotka whacks a loose puck on net from the left wing boards. Fleury eats it up..

3:22: Matt D'Agostini takes a tumble in the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone and clips Letang in the face. Letang whips his head back. D'Agostini is called for high sticking. Neal, Malkin, Sullivan, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.

3:08: From the left point, Sullivan deals a pass to Malkin on the right half wall. Malkin cranks a one-timer. David Backes deflects it out of play.

1:31: Cooke jumps on a loose puck in the right circle and swats a one-timer on net. Elliott eats it up.

1:22: The D'Agostini minor is killed. Not much going on there for the Penguins.

0:00: End of period. Blues 0, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

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-In case you forgot how boring Ken Hitchcock hockey is to watch, you just got a crash course for the last 20 minutes. Zzzzzzzzz.

-Both teams put a ton of shots on net (24 total), but they were all perimeter "junk" shots which goaltenders will eat up.

-The Blues did bring a lot of physical play that period. They initiated the bulk of the contact that period and took it to the Penguins.

-The Blues have some amazing skaters. T.J. Oshie might be one of the 10 best skaters in the NHL. And Alex Pietrangleo skates as well as any blue liner in the NHL.

-Neither team looked all that sharp on the power play.

-Shots are tied, 12-12.

-Neal, Kennedy, Malkin, Sobotka, Pietrangelo, Backes and Oshie each lead the game with two shots.

-Backes leads the game with 7:28 of ice time.

-Letang leads the Penguins with 7:14.

-The Penguins have a 9-6 edge in faceoffs (60 percent).

-Malkin is 4 for 6 (67 percent).

-Sobotka is 2 for 2 (100 percent).

-Martin leads the game with two blocked shots.

SECOND PERIOD

18:24: Malkin controls the puck in the left wing circle and fends off a stick check from Backes. Malkin then takes a fall backwards and lands on his butt. That's two minutes for holding against Backes. Malkin sold that well. Backes appears to accuse Malkin of diving en route to the penalty box. Malkin, Sullivan, Letang, Kunitz and Neal take the ice.

16:34: With just 10 seconds left in the power play, the Penguins' strike. Martin and Kuniz battle Polak for a puck in the left wing corner of the St. Louis' zone. Martin claims the puck and slides a soft pass to Neal. Neal immediately whips a low wrister on net which trickles through Halak's five hole and in on net. Neal ties a career high with his 27th goal of the season. Its also his 100th career goal. Martin and Kunitz get assists. Penguins 1-0.

14:27: MacIntyre trips up Backes in the Blues' zone. That's two minutes. MacIntyre can't be doing things like that if he wants to keep earning what little playing time he might get.  Dustin Jeffrey, Craig Adams, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.

12:40: Adams shoves Oshie into the right wing boarsd of the Penguins zone from behind. Oshie takes a tumble into the boards face first. No call.

12:27: The Blues' power play is killed. Not much going on for the Blues that two minutes.

12:04: Neal rushes into the offensive zone with speed and lifts a backhander from the right circle over the cage.

11:53: Malkin snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Elliott fights it off. The rebound hops out to the slot. Niskanen jumps on it and whips a wrister at the cage. Elliott eats it up.

11:23: After a turnover by Jeffrey in the  neutral zone, Chris Stewart rushes up the left wing on a partial two-on-one with Langenbrunner against Engelland. Stewart shoots low. Fleury holds it out as Engelland and Langenbrunner crashes into Fleury and dislodge the net. Tough save.

9:41: Jackman chops a half slapper from the left point. Fleury kicks it out. The rebound is kicked out to the right of the crease. David Perron is right there but whips the wrister high of the cage.

9:29: After an icing call, the Penguins take a time out to get a breather.

9:00: Adams chops a partial one-timer from the right circle wide to the far side.

7:44: Welcome back to the score sheet Steve Sullivan. Deryk Engelland chips a wrister on net from the right point. Elliott makes the save. The rebound hops up in the air. Sullivan beats Carlo Colaiacovo to the puck and swats it out of mid-air on net. Nice effort by Sullivan. Engelland and Cooke get assists. Z.Z. Top celebrates:

Penguins 2-0.

6:26: Off a give and go with Oshie, Pietrangelo rips a wrister on net from the left circle. Fleury kicks it out. The rebound ends up at the top of the slot. Colaiacovo booms it on net with a slapper. Fleury gloves it.

4:44: Wow. Some lethal quick hands there lead to a goal. After a turnover by Jeffrey in the neutral zone. Langenbrunner recovers the puck and deals to Stewart. Stewart gains the offensive zone, pulls in Orpik and chips a pass to Berglund in the slot. Berglund takes the pass, puts a few nasty dekes on Fleury. Fleury gets all jamed up and can't stop Berglund's forehand shot by his blocker. What a display by Berglund. Stewart and Langenbrunner get assists. Penguins, 2-1.

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2:20: Oshie chips a puck up the right wing. He senses a hit form Engelland and slams him to the ice. Oshie goes to the bench in discomfort.

1:35: Tough, tough save. Malkin leads a two-on-one up the left wing with Neal against Colaiacovo. Malkin chips a pass to Neal in the right circle. Neal guns a one-timer. Elliott reads it all the way and eats it up.

0:57: David Perron whips a wrister from the right circle. Michalek goes stick on puck and gets a piece of the shot. That sort of turns it into an "off-speed pitch." Fleury kicks it out with his right skate and covers to freeze play. Tough save.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Blues 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

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-For whatever reason, the Blues took their foot off the gas and let up in terms of physical play. The Penguins took advantage of that cashed in with some goals in tight.

-Fleury ahs been pretty sharp tonight. He's had to be. The Blues have had some excellent chances tonight.

-Paul Martin has been taking a ton of chances with some deep rushes up ice. One of them paid off.

-Dustin Jeffrey had a rough period with two neutral zone turnovers that resulted in plum scoring chances, including one which led to Berglund's goal.

-The Penguins have a 22-19 lead in shots.

-Neal leads the game with four shots.

-Pietrangelo and Backes each lead the Blues with three.

-Pietrangelo leads the game wih 16:35 of ice time.

-Letang leads the Penguins with 16:23 of ice time.

-Faceoffs are tied, 20-20 (50 percent).

-Malkin is 7 for 14 (50 percent).

-Arnott is 6 for 11 (55 percent).

-Martin leads the game with three shots.

-Colaiacovov and Oshie each lead the Blues with two.

THIRD PERIOD

19:19: Off some sharp passing by Malkin and Kunitz, Neal snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Elliott knocks it down and covers.

18:47: Berglund snaps off a wrister from a tough angle on the left wing. Fleury fights it off.

18:35: Off a turnover by Stewart,  Vitale snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Elliott knocks it down and covers.

18:28: Off the ensuing faceoff, Niskanen taps a pass to Dupuis above the left circle. Dupuis booms a one-timer which Elliott fights off.

17:29: Nichol appears to slew foot Vitale in the right circle. It was subtle, but it was dirty. No call.

16:23: Sobotka cross check Malkins' face in front of the Blues bench. That's two minutes. Malkin, Kunitz, Letang, Martin and neal take the ice.

16:06: Malkin booms a one-timer from the right point. It completely misses the net.

15:47: From the right circle, Malkin snaps off a pass to the slot. Kunitz crashes in and re-directs it on net. Elliott kicks it out with his right skate.

14:56: Letang and Niskanen fumble a puck in the offensive zone. Berglund picks it up and appears to be off to the races. Niskanen chases him and holds him up a bit. Officials aware a penalty shot. Berglund takes the puck, coasts slightly to the right and moves towards the crease. He makes another wicked deke and snaps off a sick wrister by the blocker of Fleury. Fleury was paralyzed there. What a shot. The Scottrade Center goes nuts.  Blues 2, Penguins 2.

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(We'll forever be fans of the Blues for using an organ for their goal song.)

12:18: Letang snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Colaiacovo kicks it out.

12:11: Adams pumps a slapper from the top of the slot. It hits a body in front. Vitale has a chanc eon the rebound but no dice.

10:42: Backes rushes into the offensive zone ththe puck on his backand. He flings a shot on net. Fleury kicks it out. Oshie follows up on the rebound and puts it off the right post. Fleury covers the rebound. The Penguins caught a break there.

9:41: Langenbrunner snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Fleury kicks it out.

8:10: Niskanen lifts a wrister from the right wing. Elliott gloves it.

7:05: Neal snaps off a wrister from the right wing to the far side. Elliott steers it away with his blocker.

6:22: B.J. Crombeen flings a backhander from the slot. Fleury fights it off. Michalek skates the rebound away from danger.

5:30: Adams slides a wrister from the right circle. Elliot denies it.

5:21: Jackman pumps a slapper on net from above the left circle. Fleury kicks it out.

3:43: Berglund snaps off a backhander from along the goal line on the left wing. Fleury holds it out.

2:06: Malkin sprints into the offensive zone, fakes a slapper, then snaps off a wrister from deep on the left wing. Elliott eats it up. The Blues call a timeout to get organized.

1:19: Cooke and Jackman race for a puck in the right wing corner. Cooke puts his arms on the side of Jackman's back. Jackman crashes into the boards. Jackman lays on the ice clutching his head. Cooke looks up in confusion. He eventually recovers to his skates and makes his way to the bench and the dressing room. Cooke gets a boarding minor. The NHL will look at that hit but Jackman sold that big time. Orpik, Michalek, Park and Dupuis take the ice.

0:07: Park has a chance shorthanded form the right circle blocked by Kris Russel.

0:00: End of period. Blues 2, Penguins 2.

THIRD INTERMISSION

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The Penguins have a 36-29 lead in shots.

OVERTIME

4:21: Pietrangelo booms a slapper from the left point.  Fleury fights it off.

4:15: HUGE SAVE! Perron collects the rebound deals a pass to Backes on the back door. Backes taps a shot on net and Fleury ROBS him with his left leg. Wow!

2:57: Letang tries to jam in a low shot along the goal line on the left wing but Elliott fights it off.

2:31: Neal rushes up the left wing ona  two-on-one with Dupuis. Neal slides a feed to Dupuis nthe right circle. Dupuis miss-times the pass and whiffs on his one-timer attempt.

0:58: More robbery! From the right circle, Stewart taps a feed to the slot. Berglund

0:41: WOW!!!! Pietrangelo takes a pass on the left wing and chips it to the slot. Sobotka re-directs it on net.

0:33: Malkin spins off a check from Pietrangelo in the slot and flings a backhander on net. Elliot steers it away.

0:00: End of period. Blues 2, Penguins 2.

FOURTH INTERMISSION

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-The Penguins have a 39-34 lead in shots.

SHOOTOUT

-Berglund gets the all first. Berglund gets the call. He races in and flings a fwrister on net. Fleury swats it away.

-Letang goes first for the Penguins. H weaves hi wain inte, fakes a wrister, moves in on net and tries to tuck in a forehand shot but Elliott keeps it out with his left skate.

-Kevin Shattenkirk hustles in on net and goes with a forehand shot. Fleury's glove hand holds it out.

-Malkin coasts in, looks at the net and snaps off a lethal wrister by Elliott's blocker. Penguins 1-0.

-Oshie needs to score. He weaves in on net slowly, goes to the slot and clunks in a wrister by Fleury's glove hand. Blues 1, Penguins 1.

-Neal can win it. He goes slightly to the right, moves in on net and snaps off a wrister from the slot wide of the cage.

-The Blues go with another defenseman with Pietrangelo. He goes slightly to the right, heads to the slot and before he can shoot, Fleury poke checks it away.

-Kunitz gets the nod. He zips in on net, gets Elliott to commit to a poke check and lifts a backhander by his left leg. End of shootout. Penguins 2, Blues 1. End of game. Penguins 3, Blues 2.

POSTGAME

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-What a game. Two hot teams produced a pretty thrilling 65-plus minutes of hockey (minus the first 20 minutes).

-With all due respect to Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Fleury is our MVP of the season. Malkin has put together a hot streak as of late and Letang has made a world of difference on the blue line, but from Game 1 through 48, Fleury has been their most consistent element on this team. Malkin, Letang, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal and others have all missed time due to injury. And Brent Johnson has been ineffective most of the season. Fleury has brought stability to this team and is the biggest reason its in playoff contention.

-The officiating was pretty brutal tonight. The officials missed plenty of legit calls and "made up" for it by making several bogus calls.

-One of those bogus calls was Matt Cooke's boarding minor against Barrett Jackman late. This isn't Jackman's first rodeo. He knows Cooke is an easy target for drawing calls like that. He sold that call hard. He might have been legitimately injured, but if so, he made a miraculous recover and played three shifts in overtime. There's no way Cooke should even hear from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan.

-God help whatever team draws the Blues in the playoffs. The Blues will punish someone. Even if you beat them, you're going to be a lesser team from a physical standpoint. They extract their pound of flesh.

-James Neal. He's just a shooter. It's a deadly release.

-Special teams were obivously key. The Penguins went 1 for 4 with the power play. The Blues went 0 for 3.

-Brian Elliott was strong as well. If you're a goaltending fan, this was your game.

-The Penguins led in shots, 39-34.

-Neal and Malkin each led the game with six shots.

-Vladimir Sobotka, David Backes and Patrik Berglund each led the Blues with five.

-Alex Pietrangelo led the game with 28:09 of ice time.

-Paul Martin led the Penguins with 25:56.

-The Blues had a 30-29 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).

-The Great Joe Vitale was 8 for 13 (62 percent).

-Berglund was 8 for 15 (53 percent).

-Zbynek Michalek led the game with four blocked shots.

-Carlo Colaiacovoc led the Blues with three.

-Kunitz appeared in his 500th career game.

-Neal scored his 100th career goal.

-Kunitz passed Al McDonough for 63rd place on the team's all-time scoring list. Both players have 130 points, but Kunitz (57) has more goals than McDonough (56).

-Berglund is the first Blues player to ever score a penalty shot goal against the Penguins. The only other Blues player to attempt a penalty shot against the Penguins was Doug Gilmour. He was stopped by Pat Riggin, March 1, 1987.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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