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Aftermath: Blues 1, Penguins 0 OT

Saturday, 10.23.2010 / 11:30 PM ET / Features
By Jason Seidling
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Aftermath: Blues 1, Penguins 0 OT
1 - 0
FINAL 1 2 3 OT T
BLUES 0 0 0 1 1
PENGUINS 0 0 0 0 0
For the second time in three nights, the Penguins found themselves locked in a playoff-type battle with a Western Conference foe.

Unlike Thursday night’s up-and-down the ice, seesaw affair against Nashville, Saturday night’s matchup with St. Louis featured heavy hitting and tough defensive play. The Penguins played a near-perfect road game against one of the National Hockey League’s up-and-coming teams – especially during the second and third periods – but unfortunately only come up with one point for their effort as the Blues outlasted them, 1-0 in overtime, on an Erik Johnson game-winning goal.

In a contest that turned into a goaltending dual between two of the league’s hottest netminders through the early weeks of the season – the Penguins Brent Johnson and St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak – it was Halak tormenting the Penguins once again, stopping all 31 shots he faced to register his first shutout with the Blues.

It was a tough ending for the Penguins, who outshot the Blues, 28-15, over the second and third periods, and really deserved a better fate for yet another great road performance.

Despite the loss, there are plenty of positives the Penguins can take from this game, including another stellar effort from Johnson between the pipes, the return to the lineup of Brooks Orpik from a six-game absence and continued improvement along the blue line from Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland, who are establishing themselves more and more at this level with each game.
Ben Lovejoy
The Penguins have given up three or less goals in eight of their nine games thus far. One of the chief reasons – outside of strong netminding – has been the way the team’s defensemen have played through the early going, even with Brooks Orpik and Zbynek Michalek each missing time.

On Saturday night it was Ben Lovejoy who stepped up and provided the Penguins with top-notch defensive play in perhaps his best game of the season. The 26-year-old Concord, N.H. native was one of the Penguins’ top defensemen against the Blues, blocking three shots while making several solid defensive plays and even leading a few rushes through the neutral zone.

Lovejoy also pitched in on the Penguins penalty killing unit, seeing 1:19 minutes of shorthanded action as the Penguins killed off all three St. Louis power plays.
It seemed inconsequential at the time when Evgeni Malkin prematurely jumped into the faceoff circle to begin overtime, which resulted in Sidney Crosby being kicked out of the draw in favor of Malkin. However, that play ended up being the one which led to Erik Johnson’s game-winning goal. St. Louis won the draw, got the puck deep into the Pittsburgh zone and kept it there long enough for Johnson to score the winner. ST. LOUIS (AP) - Erik Johnson scored 50 seconds into overtime, Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves and the St. Louis Blues beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 on Saturday night for their 10th straight home victory.

Brent Johnson stopped 23 shots for the Penguins. He lost for the first time in five games this season.
  • The Penguins took the first step towards returning to full health on Saturday night as defenseman Brooks Orpik returned to the lineup for the first time since missing six games with a groin strain. Orpik, who hadn’t played since Oct. 9 against Montreal, logged 17:59 minutes, dished out five hits and finished with an even rating.
  • Pittsburgh’s 1-0 overtime loss ended the team’s season-high four-game winning streak. The Penguins were looking to become the fourth team in team history (1994-95; 2006-07; ’09-10) to win each of their first four road contests. Instead, the Penguins have to settle for a still-impressive 3-0-1 road mark as they head to Tampa Bay on Wednesday to conclude this three-game road swing.
  • When the Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators on Thursday, it was the fourth line of Eric Tangradi-Craig Adams-Mike Rupp whose grit shifted the momentum onto the Penguins’ side. Against St. Louis on Saturday, the third line of Matt Cooke-Maxime Talbot-Tyler Kennedy provided the spark the Penguins needed to take the game over during the final two periods. Cooke and Kennedy were especially tenacious on the forecheck, which is a huge reason why the Penguins were able to play well enough to pick up a point.
  • Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson, who has been one of the top netminders in the NHL through the first three weeks of the season, suffered the tough-luck loss on Saturday as he started against the team he broke into the league with back in 1998-99. Johnson stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced, including back-to-back glove saves on Jay McClement and T.J. Oshie in the second period. Johnson remains undefeated in regulation at 4-0-1.
#1. Jaroslav Halak
  Goaltender - 41
31 saves
1st shutout as a Blue
4th win of the season
#2. Erik Johnson
  Defenseman - 6
Overtime game-winning goal
2 hits
#3. Brent Johnson
  Goaltender - 1
23 saves on 24 shots
4-0-1 season record

Author: Jason Seidling

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