The Pittsburgh Penguins have been struggling to find offense. That ended on Saturday night in St. Louis.
13 Penguins got their names on the score sheet, as Pittsburgh sailed to a 6-3 victory over the Blues.
The Pens started off the game playing what has become their trademark: a sluggish offensive game.
It didn't take long for the Blues to capitalize. At 9:29 of the first, Barret Jokeman let a slapshot go from the left point. The shot deflected off of Rob Scuderi and changed direction just enough to get past Fleury, giving the Blues an early 1-0 lead.
Shortly after the first goal of the game, the worst tripping call in history sent Brooks Orpik to the penalty box. The Blues couldn't get anything going on the power play, and the Pens picked up some much needed momentum from the penalty kill.
Kris Letang made the first solid breakout pass by a Penguins' defensemen this season when he got an outlet pass ahead to Sidney Crosby. Crosby gained the blue line and dropped the puck off to Miroslav Satan.
Satan tried to go cross-ice to Max Talbot, but the puck hit a defenseman's skate and came right back to Miro. Satan soared into the high slot and let a wrist shot go that beat goaltender Chris Mason on the stick side, 1-1.
17 seconds later, the Blues responded. T.J. Jokeshie took a centering pass from David Perron and beat Fleury to give the Blues a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Blues recorded just four shots in the first period, but scored on two of them. Any team will take that kind of shooting percentage in one period, but as the Penguins know, you have to shoot the puck more to win hockey games.
The second period was all Pittsburgh. Alex Goligoski scored his third goal of the season at 6:04 of the second when he skated in from the point to beat Mason with a wrist shot from the high slot, 2-2.
An Eric Brewer holding penalty gave the Pens their third power play opportunity of the game. Multiple Penguin power plays usually result in Malkin filling the net.
Crosby sent a cross-ice pass to Petr Sykora, who couldn't quite get a handle on the puck. Malkin soared into the zone with speed and released a slap shot that Mason still hasn't seen, to give the Pens a 3-2 lead.
37 seconds later, the Penguins extended their lead to two goals. Matt Cooke found Tyler Kennedy streaking toward the Blues' net. Kennedy's initial shot was denied, but he stuck with the rebound and was able to bang it home to give the Pens a 4-2 lead.
The Penguins locked things down throughout the first half of the final period of play. The Blues showed some signs of life when Patrick Berglund scored what would be the 10,000th goal in Blues' history to make it 4-3 Pens.
The Penguins responded to the goal quickly once again.
Under a minute later, Satan found Talbot on the left side of the ice. Talbot threw a puck to the net through traffic and recorded his second goal of the season, 5-3 to Pittsburgh.
The Blues pulled their goalie with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. The Penguins put in three solid shifts of hard work in their own zone before Malkin finally sprung Jordan Staal on a breakaway that resulted in an empty net goal, Staal's first of the season.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 6 St. Louis 3
Crosby didn't look bothered by the hip injury that forced him to leave the Phoenix game midway through the third period.
Washington Capitals' forward Alexander Semin was recently quoted saying that he doesn't understand all the hype surrounding Sidney Crosby. He figured you could take any player and talk about them so much that they become a superstar.
When Semin finishes the season with 80-odd points and looks up at Crosby's totals he can tell us how his foot tastes.
Malkin is better than Semin and Crosby...combined.
If Satan doesn't remain on Crosby's wing for the rest of the season, something is seriously wrong with Michel Therrien.
Talbot responded very well to his increased ice time tonight. Aside from the goal, Max worked hard on every shift and was a nice compliment to Sid and Miro.
Where has Petr Sykora's offense gone?
Janne Pesonen is definitely a better fit to the Pens' lineup than fellow AHL'er Chris Minard.
It was good to see Staal get the empty netter at the end of the game, and even better to see Malkin give up the puck at center ice rather than trying to force a shot. Crosby doesn't give that puck up and the Blues get an offensive zone face-off from the ensuing icing call.
The Pens will have four off days before their next game on Thursday against the New York Islandjokes.