Gameday: Blues vs. Penguins

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (87) stick checks for the puck with Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55). (Photo courtesy: Keith Gillett, Getty Images)

11/30: Blues/Penguins, Enterprise Center, 7pm CT – FSMW, ESPN 101.1

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues (16-5-6) are back at home for a quick Saturday night matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins (14-8-4). The Blues are back in action less than 24 hours after a 3-1 division win over the Dallas Stars last night. Ryan O’Reilly scored 18 seconds after Dallas tied the game and Ivan Barbashev scored an empty-netter to secure the win for the Blues.

“I thought it was an excellent game by us here tonight, coming in here,” coach Craig Berube said. “(The Stars) have been really on a roll the last 10, 11 games. We had a real good effort by everybody.”

The Pittsburgh Penguins dropped a 5-2 game against the Devils last night, thanks to a Gustav Nyquist hat trick. “I don’t think we played well enough [last night] to win,” Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan told NHL.com. “It’s as simple as that.” Despite having key injuries in Sidney Crosby and Justin Schultz, the Penguins still maintain 5th in the Eastern Conference and 4th in the division, two points back on the second-place New York Islanders.

The Blues and Penguins face off tonight in Enterprise Center at 7pm CT. They will play again for the final time this season in Pittsburgh just four days later on Wednesday. The Blues play on Fox Sports Midwest, ESPN 101.1, and streaming on Fox Sports GO.

Barbashev’s Hot Streak

In absence of Russian winger Vladimir Tarasenko, fellow Russian Ivan Barbashev has stepped up his game on the bottom 6. In his last two games, Barbashev has a goal and four assists for 5 points. Barbashev has also performed well in the faceoff dot, winning 80% of his 20 draws in the last three games.

His 3 assists against Tampa is a career high, and he looks to smash his career assists total (12) from last year, already tallying 9 helpers. In Sammy Blais’ absence, Barbashev has almost reclaimed the team-high hits total with 49.

Since Tarasenko was sidelined, the Blues are 11-3-3 on the season. Even more impressive, the Blues have subsequently lost Alex Steen, Sammy Blais, and Oskar Sundqvist, all essential depth players in the forward roster. Despite this, players like Ivan Barbashev have risen to the task, as well as AHL-ers like Nathan Walker, who nearly scored in his Blues debut last night. “Barby’s on a roll right now making plays,” Berube commented to the STL Post-Dispatch. “Hopefully he continues.”

Blue Notes

Ryan O’Reilly snapped an 8-game goal drought with the game-winning goal last night. His goal and assist gives him four points in three games.

David Perron’s 2 assists last night gives him points in 6 straight games (3-4-7). Brayden Schenn also kept his 6-game point streak alive with an assist (2-4-6).

Alex Pietrangelo tied a season-high shot total last night with 6 shots on net against Dallas.

The Blues and Pens are back in action tonight at 8pm ET in St. Louis. To follow all of tonight’s action, head to:

STL: FSMW, ESPN 101.1, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com

PIT: ATTP, WMBS 590, NHL.com

For local Blues stories, recaps, insights and more, visit bluesrants.com!

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