Monday, January 23, 2012

Game #49 - at St. Louis Blues

2011-12 Game 49

Pittsburgh Penguins (27-17-4, 58 points) at St. Louis Blues (29-12-6, 64 points)

Nice two color patch.  Backes is a terrific hockey player who is hot right now.

Why does it matter?

Rangers?  Flyers?  Capitals?  They have nothing on the Blues.  The Blues have been absolutely dominant since the beginning of January (heck, since Hitchcock took over).  This is the toughest game so far this year for the Pens, hands down.

This post, by the way, was written before the Blues / Red Wings contest on Monday night.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Six wins in a row!  That's the high water mark for the season.
  • Blues - Other than beating Detroit, they've done everything right since Ken Hitchcock took over.
Questions to be answered
  • Will the Pens avoid the let down after the emotional OT win against the Caps?  The Blues certainly are capable of shutting down a team that isn't motivated.
  • Will we see Halak or Elliot?  I know Elliot beat the Pens earlier, but I'd still rather see him.
  • Can the Pens score?  Halak has FOUR shutouts in the month of January alone!
Keys to the game
  • Keep it tight.  The Blues have lost by more than one goal just twice since the start of November.  Stay focused on not allowing the odd-man chances against.
  • Get ready to work.  The Pens have been good at that recently, but the Blues are maybe the best team in the league at it (even better than the Rangers, in my opinion).
  • Use the legs.  The Pens were resting in St. Louis while the Blues were playing the Red Wings on Monday night.  Keep the tempo high and try to tire them out.

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