Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Penguins Game Day 49 - @ St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues

8:00 p.m., Scottrade Center, Saint Louis, Missouri

This will be the final game before the All-Star break and while I think it is imporant to get the week off (for Marc Andre Fleury) but I think the Penguins want this break to be pushed back a little bit. I think that the biggest monmentum killer in sports is halftime/period break but one of the other ways to kill momentum is to have the All-Star break which for the NHL is smack dab in the middle of the season.

This might be the biggest test of the past couple of weeks as the Blues are as hot as they come. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 and that only loss came last night against the Red Wings when they lost 3-1. This is going to be a huge task as they face one of the best goaltenders in the league in Brian Elliot as he leads the league in goals against average (1.68) and is second in save percentage (.937). While he has been one of the best he has given up three goals in four of his last six starts but that doesn't guarantee anything if you are the Penguins.

The Penguins haven't been too shaby either going 6-0-0 in their last six games and riding the back of Evgeni Malkin who holds the points lead and also is third in the league with 26 goals, which is only six goals back of Steve Stamkos for the NHL lead. Oh yea, non-All-Star James Neal also has 26 goals.

Marc Andre Fleury might play every game the rest of the season. Dude has been a rock in goal and a huge reason the Penguins are where they are in the standings (6th) despite having a brutal six game losing streak. As I said before I don't agree with playing MAF in each of these games where the Penguins played five games in eight days but I guess stacking the wins will make it a little easier to swallow.

Should be a really fun game between a couple of teams that are playing some great hockey right now.

Season series (Penguins lead 1-0):

November 23, 2011 - St. Louis 3, Pittsburgh 2 (OT)

The Penguins probables (via Seth at Empty Netters):

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Pascal Dupuis - Dustin Jeffrey - Tyler Kennedy
Matt Cooke - Richard Park - Steve Sullivan
Eric Tangradi - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams

Kris Letang - Brooks Orpik
Zbynek Michalek - Paul Martin
Deryk Engelland - Matt Niskanen

Marc Andre Fleury

The Blues probables:

David Perron - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - Matt D'Agostini
Jamie Langenbrunner - Jason Arnott - Chris Stewart
Chris Porter - Scott Nichol - B.J. Crombeen

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Brian Elliott

The stats:

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