Who: St. Louis Blues (11-12-0, 22 points, 6th place Pacific Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (12-8-4, 28 points, 4th place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sports Network Pittsburgh (ATTSN-PT) for the home team, Bally Sports Midwest (BSMW) for the visitors, Sling TV, ESPN+
Opponent Track: The Blues recently followed up an eight-game losing streak with a seven-game winning streak, so it’s been a season of extremes in St. Louis so far. They’re back on the losing side of things, as they’ve dropped four of their last five. The Blues claimed that single win in gutsy fashion, however, by coming back from an early deficit to the Florida Panthers with a three-goal third period one week ago.
Pens Path Ahead: Next week, the Penguins finish out the home stretch on Tuesday against the Blue Jackets, then meet the Sabres twice in two days with a home-and-home on Friday and Saturday.
Season Series: The Penguins and Blues will meet again in St. Louis on February 25.
Getting to know the Blues
SB Nation counterpart: St. Louis Game Time
Pavel Buchnevich - Robert Thomas - Vladimir Tarasenko
Brandon Saad - Ryan O’Reilly - Josh Leivo
Ivan Barbashev - Brayden Schenn - Jordan Kyrou
Jake Neighbours - Noel Acciari
Nick Leddy / Colton Parayko
Torey Krug / Justin Faulk
Niko Mikkola / Robert Bortuzzo
Goalies: Jordan Binnington (Thomas Greiss)
Scratches: Tyler Pitlick, Nathan Walker
IR: Logan Brown, Marco Scandella, Scott Perunovich
- St. Louis has been using 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the past three games. This is something they did regularly last season as well. This unusual set-up allows the Blues to skate both former Penguin Robert Bortuzzo (who the St. Louis lean on heavily during the penalty kill) and Calle Rosen, who began the season as a healthy scratch but has been rapidly seeing his ice time climb. Expect to a variety of defense pairs facing the Penguins, unless the Blues decide to slot back in Tyler Pitlick on the fourth line.
- If the Blues continue to roll with the 11-7 lineup, they usually slot in a top-six forward alongside Neighbours and Acciari whenever it's the fourth line’s turn to step over the boards. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this gives a few extra shifts to some of St. Louis’ most dangerous scorers.
- On the downside, no Blues scorer has ten goals yet (we’re looking at one of the league’s lower-scoring teams.) On the upside, when the team does get production, it could come from any of its four lines.
- The Blues are one of four NHL teams (along with the Oilers, Bruins and Islanders) who have yet to lose an overtime contest this season. St. Louis is 3-0 in the extra frame, including that recent comeback win against the Panthers.
- St. Louis is one of the most scored-against teams in the NHL at an average of 3.65 goals against per game, an issue exacerbated by Jordan Binnington’s sub-.900 performance through 18 starts.
And now for the Pens...
Potential Game Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Ryan Poehling - Teddy Blueger - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin / Jeff Petry
Marcus Pettersson / Jan Rutta
P.O. Joseph / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Tristan Jarry (Casey DeSmith)
Scratches: Kris Letang (stroke), Danton Heinen
- It will be interesting to see if the Penguins fiddle any more with these defensive pairings in the absence of Kris Letang. Although Dumoulin started on the first pairing last night, mid-game shifts meant he actually skated for just 15:26, his lowest ice-time of the season.
- McGinn’s goal on Thursday marked his sixth in 12 games.
- Given Kapanen’s goal on Thursday, we’ll go ahead and guess he will be rewarded with another night in the lineup, leaving Danton Heinen on the outs once more.
Tonight marked Kapanen's second two-point game of the season (1G-1A) pic.twitter.com/VDLIkekEN6— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 2, 2022
- The Penguins swapped a scheduled practice yesterday with a morning skate today at 10:30am, so we’ll get any late news updates then.