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Wasting Light: Blues At Pittsburgh Penguins Preview

The road trip concludes with the flightless birds of Pittsburgh

When we said "use your head" .... that is NOT what we meant!
When we said "use your head" .... that is NOT what we meant!
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

This road trip finally comes to an end, with the final stop being in Pittsburgh. The Penguins are in a similar situation as the Blues these days. They've had a rough patch in their season (4-5-1 in their last 10 games) and are dearly missing a star player. They are coming off of a win against Arizona on Saturday night, but that win snapped a 4-game losing streak where they had only scored 2 goals and gave up 11. While currently in decent playoff position, the Pens are feeling a little heat from the teams under them, particularly from the Caps. A loss by either team will throw a monkey wrench into their postseason plans.

While the Blues await the return of Kevin Shattenkirk and Carl Gunnarsson, the Pens have been hit even harder by the injury bug. Pascal Dupuis has been shut down for the season after continuing issues with blood clots. Fellow forwards Patric Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin have been day-to-day for a while. Hornqvist  will be out a little longer, but Malkin is very close to returning, possibly tonight. That has been described as a "50/50, maybe longer shot" by Pittsburgh head coach Mike Johnston. Furthermore, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff re-injured himself during Saturday's warmups, so he's also questionable for tonight's game.

Of course, it's more than just the situations that Blues fans will see as familiar. There will be some faces that strike a memory as well. Tonight, we'll see a Pens team featuring David Perron, Maxim Lapierre, and Ian Cole . It should make for some interesting shifts against each other. Expect to hear about them throughout the game. Another fact that will surely be trotted out tonight: in 9 career games against the Blues, the great Sidney Crosby has yet to score a goal. He's been limited to 5 assists, and 3 of those were on the Power Play. Whatever shutdown magic the Blues have employed before, they'll need it again tonight. My hero pick for the night is David Backes; he'll see a lot of the Crosby line, and if he can contain him and pot a goal too, that'd be huge.

Marc-Andre Fleury is expected in net for the Pens, although that has not been confirmed yet. He has had his usual solid regular season, with a 32-16-7 record and a stat line of 2.21 GAA and .923 Sv%. In his career, Flower has put up .927 Sv% against St Louis. He's going to be a tough nut to crack, and the Blues will need to keep the effort up, even if they get up 1-0 early in the game. The Prns are due to break out scoring again soon, especially if Malkin returns to the lineup. The Blues will need to keep their energy up and stay on the attack. They can't treat this like just another walk in the park against a weak Eastern Conference team.

Jake Allen returns to the St Louis net. Considering Elliott's last few starts, I can see why Coach Hitchcock made that call. This is a lot of action for the youngster, but it'll be valuable experience. Also, the Pens have never faced Allen before, so there will be a possible advantage there. We still haven't seen the best of you yet, Jake.

Further Reading:

PensBurgh

Blues vs Penguins coverage

GameDay Twitter Feed

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Final Verse: Eastern time again, so an early start. The puck drops 6:00 PM St Louis time, and the GDT should drop shortly beforehand.  The TV broadcast is back on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Come join us, won't you? What rhymes with Yinzers? Until then,

LGB!!!