- The Pens enter this game on a 6 game winning streak
- On a related note, Malkin enters the game on a 6 game goal scoring streak, tying a career high from his first 6 games in the league
- Marc-Andre Fleury makes his 22nd straight appearance, continuing to set career highs
- Zbynek Michalek received no punishment from the league for his hit on Matt Hendricks in the Washington game (meanwhile, Ovechkin got suspended 3 games for hitting Michalek)
- The Pens called up Steve MacIntyre again today and he’s in for Eric Tangradi
- Joe Vitale is making his hometown return and gets to start in St. Louis
- Chris Kunitz is playing in his 500th career game
- James Neal still isn’t All-Star worthy apparently, as Scott Hartnell got in over him as an injury replacement
Pens 3 Blues 2 (SO)
Goals: Neal (27) from Martin, Kunitz
Sullivan (9) from Engelland, Cooke
SO Winner: Kunitz
- The Pens won their 7th game in a row and will now get a week off for the All-Star break
- James Neal’s goal was the 100th of his career. He also tied his career high in a season with 27.
- The top line continues to be the best in the NHL right now as it totaled 13 shots and produced the opening goal (Neal) and a couple shootout goals (Malkin and Kunitz)
- The Penalty Kill was 3 for 3, including a huge 4 on 3 at the start of overtime.
Marc-Andre Fleury – Fleury was simply unbelievable in this game, making numerous game-saving split saves. He was the #1 star and made 32 saves on 34 shots. The Pens simply owe him that game.
|The Blues were on the doorstep all night. Fleury said no.|
James Neal – Scored a goal, played solid in both ends, and was a spark plug all night, taking 6 shots. Neal continues to play at a level I don’t think anyone expected so far.
Evgeni Malkin – Also added 6 shots and scored in the shootout, where he is 5 for 7 this season. Every time Geno touches the puck is a rush at this point, but the Blues did an impressive job of slowing him down a little bit still.
Zbynek Michalek – He quietly blocked 4 shots and played a huge role on the penalty kill surviving the night as he led the PKers with 4:27 of short-handed time.
- Malkin’s goal scoring streak ended…but I think he’ll survive with a win
- The 2nd period was very turnover filled and the Pens had a tough time in the neutral zone with the Blues
- Diving calls. I didn’t think Neal committed a dive when he got called for one, but I thought Malkin definitely went down a little too easy on the call he drew (leading to the Pens PP goal).
Kris Letang – Not one of his better nights defensively. He got caught too far up on the Cooke/Jeffrey turnover that led to the 1st goal. He then made the bad pass that went the other way on the Blues short-handed breakaway, which turned into a penalty shot goal to tie the game.
Pascal Dupuis - Not necessarily bad, just enormously frustrating. Dupuis has now gone 13 games without a goal, and missed a golden chance when Neal set him up with a one-timer on a 2 on 1. His overall play has still been fine, but he's gotta finish when he gets a good chance.
|When the top line slows down, he's gonna have to score.|
- Matt Cooke’s boarding penalty on Barrett Jackman with a minute left in the 3rd period.
Steve MacIntyre – Was on the ice for a whole 3:52 and managed to take a tripping penalty during that time. I’m not sure he serves any purpose at all.
- In regards to Cooke’s hit, I’m not sure if Jackman was trying to buy a call or if his skates got caught or what, but he didn’t even try to brace himself and turned himself to face the boards when Cooke hit his side. With it being Cooke, I’m sure Shanahan looks at it, but this will be a very interesting call with Cooke’s reputation in play.
|Is an honorable first half going to go down the drain now for Cooke?|
- Why on earth did Tangradi get benched for MacIntyre? I’m not a big fan of Tangradi, but he doesn’t hurt the team usually and he plays a solid 9 minutes. This is even weirder with Bylsma’s tendency to not change the lineup during a winning streak aside from returns from injury (see how Johnson may never play again). MacIntyre should stay in the AHL.
- As Lovejoy continues to sit in the press box, I hope Shero takes some time to look towards moving him or Niskanen. It seems like such a waste to have a solid 3rd line defender doing nothing when that strength can be used to pick up something else.
- Hopefully the All-Star Break doesn’t cool off the Pens, but I’m very happy to see Fleury get a week off here before he starts losing body parts.
- As Dan Rosen points out, right now the playoff matchups would be 1 Rangers vs. 8 Devils and 4 Flyers vs. 5 Pens. Exclamation Point.
Pens Record: 28-17-4, 60 pts, 3rd in the Atlantic, 5th in the East
Next Game: 1/31 vs Tor, 7pm