February 21, 2015

After coming up just short in the final two games of a road trip, the Pittsburgh Penguins finally broke through with Sidney Crosby providing the bulk of the scoring.

Crosby also played a significant role in Pittsburgh's win over St. Louis earlier this season, and he'll try to lead the Penguins to a season sweep of the Blues on Monday night.

Pittsburgh (21-16-7) lost back-to-back games in overtime before returning home Sunday and didn't disappoint its fans with a 5-0 rout of Carolina. Olli Maatta opened the scoring 3:54 into the game and Crosby helped put it away with a pair of goals.

"We need the points. It's nice to get two here instead of one," Crosby said. "We had a pretty good game all the way through. It was a good team effort."

Crosby also scored two goals in a 4-3 overtime victory against St. Louis on Nov. 25, and Evgeni Malkin tallied the winner.

The Blues (26-15-7) have won three of four since a season-worst five-game skid that included two overtime defeats and one in a shootout. Jori Lehtera scored in an extra period Saturday in a 4-3 victory against Montreal and Brian Elliott made a career-high 46 saves.

"You can't waste a performance like that," said forward Ty Rattie, who scored the tying goal with 5:25 left in regulation. ''Ells was on his game and he wanted it."

St. Louis denied Montreal on six of seven power plays and is 22 for 25 on the penalty kill in the past six games. That's helped make up for a 2-for-18 performance with a man advantage in the last five contests.

The Penguins are converting at 31.7 percent on the power play in their past 13. Their penalty kill is 33 for 36 in the last 12 contests and newly acquired forward Carl Hagelin helped them go 4 for 4 in Sunday's victory.

Pittsburgh got Hagelin from Anaheim on Friday for David Perron and Adam Clendening.

"I've been PK'ing for a while now in this league," Hagelin told the team's official website. "I think experience is key when it comes to the PK, and obviously we didn't let in any goals today so that's a good thing.

"You can always get better, but we got the two points and that's all that matters."

Pittsburgh hasn't earned two wins over St. Louis in one season since 1998-99.

With Marc-Andre Fleury starting Sunday, Pittsburgh might give backup netminder Jeff Zatkoff his first appearance against the Blues.

Elliott hasn't faced Pittsburgh since a 4-2 home loss Feb. 21, the Penguins' third win in their last five trips to St. Louis. Elliott was 3-0-1 with a 1.21 goals-against average in his prior four matchups.

Pittsburgh's Nick Bonino has five goals and five assists in his last nine games against St. Louis - all victories - but is out indefinitely because of a hand injury. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is a game-time decision after sitting out Sunday's victory because of an undisclosed ailment.

Letang has five goals and seven assists in his past seven games.

You May Like