The Pittsburgh Penguins will hit the ice in St. Louis tonight, having lost their previous three games while scoring a total of just four goals.
Sidney Crosby, who left the ice early in the third period during the Penguins' previous game against Phoenix, will be in the lineup tonight for Pittsburgh. The nature of Crosby's injury has not been disclosed.
The Penguins re-called their top offseason European prospect, Janne Pesonen, from the AHL this morning. The team has not released an official statement as to whether or not Pesonen will be in the lineup tonight, but this could be another attempt by Michel Therrien to spark his dormant offense.
Evgeni Malkin told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he isn't happy with the way his team is playing recently.
"We need to work every practice and game," Malkin said. "Last year, we played the same system, [but right now] everybody plays bad in the defensive zone and offensive zone."
This is coming from the guy who is leading the team, and the league, in points with 16. Say what you want about Sidney Crosby, but Malkin is quickly emerging as the true leader of this team, both on the ice and off of it.
The Blues, like the Penguins, are also struggling to put the puck in the net recently. Their top line of Paul Kariya-Andy McDonald-Brad Boyes is their best line, and they are looking to increase their production on the score sheet.
Of the aforementioned trio, only Boyes is off to a great start this season, scoring seven goals in the Blues' first eight games.
Alex Pietrangelo, the number four overall draft pick in the entry draft this past June, has been sidelined for a few games with a neck injury. However, Pietrangelo might be ready to return to the ice tonight against Pittsburgh.
We've seen Stamkos and Schenn in Tampa Bay and Toronto, respectively, so getting our first glimpse of another rookie blue liner would be a nice addition to tonight's game.
That, and of course, marveling at how small Manny Legace is, assuming that Chris Mason doesn't start tonight, which is unlikely.
The Penguins did a better job of getting pucks to the net against Phoenix on Thursday night, but Ilya Bryzgalov was solid between the pipes.
The Pens need to replicate the same kind of hard-working, tight-checking system that they played in the second period of the Phoenix game against a much smaller, much less physical opponent in St. Louis.
Most importantly, the Penguins need to play hard for a full 60 minutes, something which they have done only three times in 10 games this year.
Let's Go Pens.