Gameday: Blues at Penguins

Blues forward Jaden Schwartz (17) watches goaltender Matt Murray (30) make a save on his shot. (Photo courtesy: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports)

12/4: Blues/Penguins, PPG Paints Arena, 7pm CT: NBCSN, ESPN 101.1

PITTSBURGH – The St. Louis Blues (18-5-6) can match a franchise record tonight in the Steel City against the Pittsburgh Penguins (14-9-4). A Blues win or overtime loss would give them points in 11 straight road games (8-0-2), a feat they haven’t accomplished since the 1999-2000 season. Part of that streak included a dominant 4-0 shutout win in Chicago on Monday against the Blackhawks.

“Whether it’s at home or on the road, we still stick to the game plan,” Jaden Schwartz told NHL.com after the game. “We don’t try switching it up and I think we are just doing a good job of sticking to our systems.”

Pittsburgh has been patiently waiting for their revenge after most recently losing 5-2 against the Blues last weekend. Pittsburgh’s injuries have been mounting, as they played in St. Louis sans Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist, among others like Brian Dumolin, who exited the ice during the game.

“I thought we made some fatigued mistakes in the third period that maybe we wouldn’t have made if we had a guy like ‘Dumo’,” Head Coach Mike Sullivan told the media afterwards. “It’s tough when we lose one of our top-pair guys because he plays so many minutes for us. So we’re asking guys on a back-to-back night to step up and I thought we struggled a little bit at the beginning of the third period.”

The Pens and Blues face off in Pittsburgh for the second and final time this season, after playing just four days earlier. Tonight’s game will be broadcasted nationally at 7pm CT on NBCSN and radio call on ESPN 101.1.

Snake: Team Player

Despite some grumblings about starting the backup goaltender against the division rival Chicago, Jake Allen silenced both United Center and his critics, shutting the door while making 38 saves in a 4-0 win. With his 20th career shutout, Allen ties Jaroslav Halak for 2nd all-time shutouts in Blues history.

Allen has been a beast on the road, going 5-0-2 in his seven road starts. Almost more worthy of mentioning, however, was the sportsmanlike attitude he demonstrated when he credited the team’s all-around effort in his postgame interview.

“Our ‘D’ has been playing unbelievable. Unbelievable. I don’t really know how to describe it. Probably the best I’ve played behind in my tenure as a Blue, even last year (when we won the Stanley Cup),” Allen said. “Guys are just doing a hell of a job, that goes for the forwards as well. Tracking, sticks, pucks, being in the right area at the right time. Everybody is committed right now… it might be boring (defensive) hockey, but that’s the way we play and that’s the way we won last year.”

Despite losing his starting goaltender job in six quick months to Jordan Binnington, Allen has accepted his role as Binnington’s support, however much or little that entails.

“I’ve always rolled with the punches, whatever came my way, good or bad. I still know there’s going to be a lot of those (ups and downs) in the rest of my career,” Allen continued. “I knew I was coming in with a different role, I tried to embrace it as much as possible. Told myself again, just try to get better all the time and be ready for your starts and go from there. You see every year, you’re going to need both guys. I’m here for the boys, whatever they need.”

Blue Notes

Colton Parayko has six points in his last eight games (2G-6A).

David Perron extended his point streak to 8 games with an assist on Monday, the highest point streak by any Blues player this season.

The Blues and Penguins face off tonight in Pittsburgh tonight on NBCSN, at 8pm ET.

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

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