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News and Notes Leading up to the Blues

Sam Kasan from the Pittsburgh Penguins notes that Brent Johnson was first to step off for the Pens during practice this, so there's a good chance he may get the start between the pipes tonight.  However, as expected, head coach Dan Bylsma remains candid with his choice, saying something without really saying nothing at all.

Also worth noting: Brooks Orpik is back in the Pens' lineup tonight after missing a handful of games with a groin injury.  The Pens weren't necessarily short on the physical aspect of play while he was out, but Orpik's return definitely adds some more muscle to the back end.  As PensAreYourDaddy pointed out yesterday, it's almost Halloween: Orpik has to hand out free candy.

The fourth line from this morning's skate: Rupp - Adams - Tangradi.  For some reason I have a feeling that this line is going to light the lamp at least once tonight.  Consider it a gut feeling.

Keep an eye on: David Backes, who not only has the ability to find the back of the net but also isn't afraid to mix it up.  Last season he had 48 points and 106 penalty minutes.  The year prior, 54 points and 165 PIM.  If the Blues find themselves looking for a spark, he could just as easily pot a goal as he could pop a grill.

And, of course, Jaroslav Halak is back to wreck havoc on Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  We've already mentioned his ability to dominate in the playoffs last season while a member of the Canadiens, and so far his start with the Blues is no joke either.  Over his first five starts, Halak is 3-1-1.