BLUES SHUTOUT PENGUINS
A David Backes (24) goal at 11:20 of the third period was the difference in the game as the St. Louis Blues (48-16-7, 103 pts) shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins (46-20-5, 97 pts), 1-0 on Sunday afternoon at the Consol Energy Center.
St. Louis sweeps the season series (2-0) after beating the Penguins 2-1 in St. Louis earlier this year.
“They don’t give you a lot of space,” Matt Niskanen said of the Blues afterwards. “Their defensemen are very good. Tough to generate much offense against, big team, that’s a good game for us to play, that’s how it’s going to be in the post-season. Things are going to be tight and think we did a good job today, except for finding a goal.”
The Penguins went 0-for-5 power play in the game and that was the big story in the game as the Penguins also failed to convert a 5-on-3.
With a weak third line that rarely impacts a game offensively, the Penguins have the look of a team that is going to live and die with their special teams in the playoffs if they get in a matchup with a team that can shutdown the Penguins top guns like we’ve seen a Boston and others do in previous years in the post-season.
Pittsburgh outshot St. Louis 33-27 and the Penguins were credited with 64 shot attempts to the Blues 53.
The tone in the Penguins locker room was one that the Penguins had a playoff mentality and did the right things against one the leagues best defensive teams.
“We had the right mentality,” Niskanen said. “We knew how they were going to play and we’re ready for it. Pretty good job of doing what we wanted to do. Managed the puck, we played quick, we generated some chances.”
Dan Bylsma sung a similar tune.
“I think you look at this game, the team we’re playing, the best in the West, and you expect it to be a playoff type of game,” Bylsma said. “And it was and I thought it was a hard game. There wasn’t a ton of room out there for either team.