Well the 4th time wasn’t the charm for the Blues as they failed to win three in a row for the 4th time on Saturday night, losing 6-1 to the Penguins.
Blues fans might be quick to blame Jake Allen for the loss as he only had a 76.5% save percentage but that would just tell me that they likely didn’t watch the game. Of Allen’s 4 goals against, he had no chance on 3 of the goals and on the other Pietrangelo made the play tough.
A poor penalty by Alexander Steen just 9 seconds into the game set up this unstoppable Sidney Crosby power play goal:
Alexander Steen takes another poor penalty a little over 3 minutes into the 2nd period, creating the Penguins second power play and leading to their second power play goal. Note how Alex Pietrangelo is overplaying the situation, extending too far to the side wall:
His mistake is what leads to the goal. Once the puck goes back to the point, Pietrangelo needs to rotate cover Jake Guentzel. Because he is so wide, he slow to cross in front of Allen, screening Allen right as Jusso Riikola shoots from the point. If Pietrangelo doesn’t get out of position, he crosses in front of Allen before the shot and Allen likely makes an easy save. Notice the sight line at shot impact:
About two minutes later the Penguins would add one of their two even strength goals as the Blues show a defensive formation you never want to see.
Crosby slides the puck to Zach Aston-Reese at the post for the easy deflection goal. Allen never had a chance.
About two minutes later, the Penguins would score again on the power play as Jake Guentzel deflects a point shot past Allen. Guentzel doesn’t have a Blues defensemen anywhere near him. I’m not sure what Alex Pietrangelo thinks he is covering on the play. At least Edmundson is in a passing lane.
The Penguins would add two more goals, one on the power play, and the Blues would get a goal from David Perron.
The Blues penalty kill continued it’s free fall, stopping none of the Penguins four power play attempts. They are now 18th in the league at 79%. Vladimir Tarasenko mostly disappeared again, generating only 2 shots and missing a shot similar to Crosby’s goal.
Tonight the Blues will close out 2018 hosting the New York Rangers in a 6pm start. Kevin Shattenkirk is expected to return from injury tonight. The Rangers are 23rd in scoring and 24th in goal prevention. They are 15th on the power play and 27th on the penalty kill.
Mike Zibanejad leads the Rangers with 34 points. Kevin Hayes is 2nd with 33. Henrik Lundqvist is still manning the pipes and has a 91.3% save percentage.
Jake Allen will get the start with Robby Fabbri returning to the lineup. Unfortunately, it sounds like Fabbri will be relegated to the fourth line as Jordan Nolan watches from the press box.
Expect the lineup to be this:
Schwartz - Schenn - Tarasenko
Steen - O'Reilly – Perron
Maroon - Bozak - Thomas
Fabbri - Barbashev - Sundqvist
Edmundson - Parayko
Bouwmeester - Pietrangelo
Dunn - Bortuzzo
NHL Champions for Charity
We’ve gotten some traction on the charity wager among the Central Division bloggers. More on that to come.
It’s a great day for hockey.