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Blake Comeau and the Pens show up in the Show Me State

The Pittsburgh Penguins had a lot of pressure tonight against the St. Louis Blues. And they score more goals tonight (4) than in the past three combined (3).

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

NHL regular season games are supposed to be just 1 little chapter of a long 82 game season. The highs shouldn't be too high, and the lows shouldn't be too low. But considering the Pittsburgh Penguins were 10-11-5 in their last 26 games, and riding a three game losing streak (where they only scored a total of 3 goals), things were tense- from the top on down.

It seemed like the Pens were setup for a fall heading into St. Louis to meet the Blues, but then the game started. Pittsburgh looked like they had a lot more jump from the get-go, playing a free skating game against a Western Conference top team, where the action moves fast and often with lots of time between whistles and many end-to-end chances.

Blake Comeau continued his magical season in the first, scoring his 13th goal of the year when a STL clearing pass was broken up and bounced right to him in a great scoring position. Brian Elliott flashed just enough of a 5-hole for Comeau to toss it between his legs for a 1-0 lead.

The Pens would add to it in the 2nd period when they scored their first power play goal of the month (!!) when Patric Hornqvist took a Sidney Crosby pass and rifled it home. Amazingly, it was Crosby's first assist in his last 7 games. Then Comeau would strike again, tipping in a Simon Despres point shot to make it 3-0 good guys going into the second intermission.

The third period started off with a bang, Thomas Greiss got lucky (or was he) when a puck struck the top of his stick. It would break the stick, but the puck stayed out of the net. Then, with the Pens on a power play, Crosby put a puck on the net that almost assuredly slid under Elliott's leg pad and into the net...Yet there wasn't a good replay to prove it, and the refs didn't call a goal on the ice so after a 8+ minute review, it finally had to be concluded as a no-goal. Shame, but in a game that was already 3-0, hardly a killer.

The Pens would eventually get that PP goal back, with Brandon Sutter, of all players, backhanding a little shot by Elliott on a pass from Comeau to give him his third point of the night.

Dmitrij Jaskin would ruin Greiss's shutout bid after the Blues pulled a puck out of the corner and took advantage of a Despres - Derrick Pouliot pairing not being in sync. STL would add one more goal for the road when Ian Cole blasted a point shot by a screened Greiss after Pouliot and Paul Martin allowed traffic unfettered to their net. 4-2 and the game ends like that.

The Pens get a monkey off their back, if only for the night with a win.

A few more thoughts on the game:

  • The Pens new look lines seemed to work well. Crosby had his most visible game in ages, he was really flying out there. Once, in the first, he burst around the defenseman, took the puck right to the net but the puck clanked off the post. Great to see Sid with his nose for the net showing back up. More of that, please.
  • The second line put Chris Kunitz on with Evgeni Malkin , which we haven't seen lately. Kunitz also played one of his best games in ages. He didn't get credit for any assists, but he played a key role in both even-strength goals that the Pens scored.
  • Gotta give Mike Johnston some credit: managing the goalies was smart tonight (unlike, arguably the past). He played his backup, Greiss when the Blues were on the second night of a back-to-back, and by and large, STL didn't have a lot in the tank, it seemed like. And definitely had to fight from behind all night. And now the team has a fresh Marc-Andre Fleury for tomorrow night, where their opponent (Florida) will also be on the second half of a b-2-b.
  • Derrick Pouliot took his first penalty in the NHL in his 18th game. Tremendous run for him in that regard. Not sure it's best for a defenseman to even play that nice to never take a penalty, but so it goes.That said, Pouliot has seemed to fall off a little of late in his performance, and rumor is might be heading back to the minors when Christian Ehrhoff returns. Pouliot isn't playing a ton of minutes, and isn't very visible, which may not be too bad for such a young player, but also not great for a guy who will be a difference maker soon. He was on the ice for both goals against tonight.
  • Steve Downie is a healthy scratch and the Penguins (the NHL's most penalized team this season) only goes short-handed one time. Coincidence? Maybe. But please stop playing Zach Sill anyways.
  • Where would the Pens be without Blake Comeau? Seriously. What a great fit for the player and the team.