A couple of unexpected additions to the lineup had the Penguins and their fans in high hopes coming into a showdown with one of the best teams in the west. James Neal and Beau Bennett both made their returns to the lineup after spending some significant time on the shelf with respective injuries.
As play was occurring in the third period, the game took the feel of one of those hard fought battles that end with shootout which is the worst ending for a game like that. But since it didn’t end that way, I kind of wish that it did. At the midway point of the third period, Kevin Shattenkirk shot a wrister towards Marc-Andre Fleury. It wasn’t a hard shot and it wasn’t a particularly good shot. But it squeezed through Fleury and into the back of the net for the Blues second goal of the game.
Ryan Reaves scored the first goal of the game for the Blues. He was an assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick. The game started with a staged fight between he and Deryk Engelland off of the opening faceoff.
The only goal of the game for the Pens came off of the power play. Sidney Crosby turned the puck over in the offensive zone. Jussi Jokinen worked to regain possession of the puck before the Blues were able to clear. That led to some good puck movement and Jokinen tapping in a centering pass from Evgeni Malkin.
Jaroslav Halak stopped the other 19 shots that he saw in the winning effort. The 20 shots on goal for the Penguins was their lowest total of the season.
While the Penguins gained two of their big players, they lost another one. Paul Martin was held out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. That forced Engelland back into the lineup as a defenseman. Matt D’Agostini also returned to the lineup for the Pens after spending the last few games as a healthy scratch.
The Penguins won’t play again until Wednesday night when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers.