The Blues began the game with an NHL-low seven victories and a losing streak that was two short of last season’s franchise-worst 13 in a row, only to dominate the Penguins for the second season in a row. The Penguins’ dismal 3-0 loss in St. Louis in mid-December a year ago led to former coach Eddie Olczyk’s firing two days later and Michel Therrien’s hiring.
St. Louis scored in the opening minute for the second time in three games and the sixth time this season when Weight beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from in front with 44 seconds gone. Only this time, the Blues made a 1-0 lead hold up – something they couldn’t do in their previous four games.
With the Penguins looking a step slow, failing to catch up to lead passes or shooting the puck an instant after there was an opening, the Blues made it 2-0 on Hinote’s wraparound goal less than six minutes in.
Fleury was pulled early in the second after Ryan Johnson scored short-handed, outworking Sidney Crosby for the puck near the blue line and lifting a shot under the crossbar. Fleury allowed three goals on 12 shots.
The Penguins had won four of five.
Blues goalie Manny Legace also was lifted, with flu-like symptoms, after stopping all nine shots he saw in the first period. Jason Bacashihua replaced him to start the second period and allowed one goal in 17 shots, rookie Evgeni Malkin’s 17th of the season early in the third period on a power play.
Penguins star Sidney Crosby ran his scoring streak to nine games (six goals, 15 assists) by setting up Malkin’s goal.
St. Louis, which had been winless since beating Detroit 3-2 on Nov. 24, answered that goal about 90 seconds later when Bill Guerin scored his 13th.