Crosby helps Penguins skate past Blues

ST. LOUIS (Ticker) — Captain Sidney Crosby dispelled any
notions about his physical well-being.

Crosby proved healthy by setting up two goals and Miroslav Satan
recorded a tally and two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins
erased a pair of early deficits en route to a 6-3 triumph over
the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin each notched a goal and an
assist while defenseman Alex Goligoski, Maxime Talbot and Jordan
Staal also scored for Pittsburgh, which snapped a three-game
skid in which it totaled just four tallies.

“Every win on the road is a big win,” said Penguins coach Michel
Therrien, whose team ended its four-game road trip at 1-2-1.
“This league is so competitive. It’s tough to win in the road.
Finishing the road trip with a huge win is going to be good for
our confidence because our confidence has been hurt lately.”

The status of Crosby was in question after the 2007 Hart Trophy
winner left Thursday’s 4-1 loss at Phoenix with an undisclosed
ailment that was rumored to be either a rib or hip injury. The
21-year-old superstar appeared fine in this one, setting up
goals by Satan in the first period and Malkin in the second.

“I feel good,” Crosby said. “I was definitely happy that I was
able to play.”

Defenseman Barret Jackman and rookies T.J. Oshie and Patrik
Berglund scored for St. Louis, which has lost four of five.

“Same story over and over again,” Blues right wing Brad Boyes
said. “We’re not working hard enough to get those pucks on net.
It shows out there, and that’s why we’re losing games. Every
game we lose is because we’re getting outworked. It’s as simple
as that.”

“I don’t know where we’re at as a team,” said St. Louis coach
Andy Murray, whose team registered just 10 shots over the first
two periods. “Usually, the reason you can’t get the puck on the
net is, the other team is stronger on the puck, gets in the way,
wins the battles and doesn’t give you time and space. That
means you have to play that much harder, that much faster.”

The Blues opened the scoring at 9:29 of the first period, when
Jackman’s slap shot from the blue line deflected off the stick
of a defender and past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

READ ALSO:  Middling Rangers look to find way back into playoffs

Pittsburgh pulled even with 2:13 remaining in the session on
Satan’s sixth of the season, but St. Louis regained the lead
just 17 seconds later as David Perron made a pass from the outer
edge of the right faceoff circle to Oshie, who beat Fleury from
the bottom of the slot.

The Penguins gained control of the game in the middle session.
After Goligoski put a wrist shot past netminder Chris Mason at
6:03, when he moved to the top of the slot from the right point,
Malkin and Kennedy tallied 37 seconds apart midway through the
session for a 4-2 advantage.

“You want to make sure your confidence level is there,” Crosby
said. “I think we had it, it was just a matter of making sure
that we focus on playing for 60 minutes. Especially in this
league, if you let up a little bit, you lose your momentum

During a power play, Malkin unleashed a shot from above the
right circle that sailed between the legs of defenseman Jay
McKee and past a screened Mason with 7:38 to go, snapping the
2-2 tie. Moments later, Kennedy grabbed the puck behind the net
and beat Mason from near the right goalpost after his initial
stuff attempt was stopped.

“I had a lot of trouble tonight with traffic,” said Mason, who
turned aside 22 shots. “I think I have to get myself in a
better position to make the save. I start creeping back in the
net when I have guys in front of me. I have to be at the top of
the crease and give my body a chance to stop those.”

St. Louis got within 4-3 late in the third as Paul Kariya’s pass
from along the right wing boards went off a stick and found
Berglund, who buried his own rebound from the doorstep with 4:13
remaining. But Talbot answered 40 seconds later with a wrister
through a screen, and Staal scored into an empty net in the
final minute to secure the victory.

“To be able to come out tonight and play a great game is
important,” Fleury said. “It’s always easier in the net there
when you get some goals like we did tonight.”

Fleury made 19 saves for the Penguins.

“Fleury has been fantastic for us,” Therrien said. “He was
really sharp for us tonight.”