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Penguins At Blues Preview: Elliott Back In Net

The Blues are going to have to tighten up their defense and pepper some more shots on the Pittsburgh net if they want to win back to back games on back to back nights.

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins have scored three goals in their last three games. Not three goals a game. Three goals total. After starting the month with 20 goals in six games (and that includes a 4-0 shutout against the Nashville Predators), the Penguins have managed to score just one goal against the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, and Columbus Blue Jackets. Needless to say, they're 0-2-1 in those three games.

I'm a firm believer that every team goes through periods of the season where they have scoring issues. I think that this has something to do with the fact that I'm a Blues fan. It has made my sense of empathy heightened, mostly due to consumption of beer. I firmly believe that this is just a phase for the Penguins, one that they are more than welcome to break out of when they play the Florida Panthers tomorrow.

Thomas Greiss will be starting against the Blues tonight. This season Greiss has been serviceable, going 6-3-3 with a 2.88 GAA and a .906 save percentage. Those numbers are a hint that maybe either Greiss' six wins were due as much to the team in front of them as the goalie, or that he's gotten smoked in a couple of his starts. He's allowed 14 goals in his six wins and 23 goals in his six losses, which tallies up to a 3.40 GAA. He's also mysteriously 2-0-0 against the Central Division with a 2.00 GAA and a .929 save percentage, his best against any division. If the Blues want to beat him, they'll have to do better than 15 shots on net tonight. He may be a backup, but he's no rookie. Chances are good he won't have a Malcolm Subban Moment tonight.

He's also an unfamiliar opponent to most of the Blues. He hasn't faced St. Louis since 2011-2012. A bigger factor tonight will be if Brian Elliott can focus and get back on track. He has played both well and decidedly not-well since the All Star Game, though much like Greiss a decent portion of the losses can be placed on the team in front of him.

The Penguins' head coach has gone to the Ken Hitchcock school of offense generation:

Yeah, that usually works.

Speaking of line-up tweaks, Chris Porter is back in, and on the third line with Paul Stastny and Dmitrij Jaskin according to Lou Korac. Chances are good that means that Patrik Berglund will start the game on the fourth line and Steve Ott will sit. Marcel Goc gets to face his old team tonight, and Max Lapierre will be back in Scottrade for the first time since the trade that flipped their teams.

I will assume that there won't be a highlight tribute tonight.