Penguins (5-3-1) – Blues (4-1-2)
Scottrade Center, St. Louis
Jaroslav Halak and Brent Johnson proved that show-stopping saves are just as entertaining to watch as spectacular goals. Only Halak, however, turned aside 31 shots to earn the shutout, as well as the Blues’ 10th consecutive home victory, while Johnson lost his first game of the season in a 1-0 OT win for the Blues. Erik Johnson had the game winner for St. Louis in an inter-conference game that featured physical play and intense bouts of offense in addition to stifling goaltending.
The Pens and Blues opened the game on a stingy note, with both teams combining for only 10 shots – St. Louis had the advantage 7-3. The Blues came up empty on both of their power plays, but gave Pittsburgh no opportunities with the man advantage.
The Penguins picked up their offense in the next two periods while maintaining steady defense and goaltending. They had 19 shots in the second period compared to 7 for the Blues, who played their second game in two nights, and ended regulation with a 31-24 lead. The difference, however, was Jaroslav Halak. Although neither team could score, it was not because of a lack of action at either end of the rink. Halak continued to make seemingly impossible saves, including one on Evgeni Malkin, who shot the puck at Halak from inside the crease during a second period power play.
In a rare occurrence since the advent of the ‘New NHL,’ the Pens and Blues ended regulation knotted at zero. Through three periods of regulation play, it seemed that the stalemate would never end; but it took only 50 seconds into the overtime period for Erik Johnson to break through and give the Blues the 1-0 win. Sidney Crosby was kicked out of the opening faceoff, helping the Blues to control the puck in the offensive zone. After T.J. Oshie stripped the puck from Paul Martin, the St. Louis forward fed the biscuit to Erik Johnson, who fired a shot past the Brent Johnson from the slot. The loss snapped the Penguins’ four-game win streak.
Goals: Erik Johnson (1) scored the lone goal of the game for St. Louis.
Assists: T.J. Oshie and David Backes assisted on St. Louis’ goal.
IN THE NET
Brent Johnson (4-0-1) made 24 saves – all in regulation – on 25 shots. Jaroslav Halak (4-1-1) stopped all 31 shots he faced to earn his first shutout of the season.
The Pens finish their road trip Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning (5-1-1).