Blues get early lead, hand Penguins 2nd loss in row |

Blues get early lead, hand Penguins 2nd loss in row

Associated Press
The Blues’ Jaden Schwartz scores past Penguins goaltender Matt Murray during the third period Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in St. Louis.
The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin looks to pass as the Blues’ Colton Parayko defends during the first period Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — Nathan Walker didn’t have to wait long for a second chance to snap his scoreless drought.

Justin Faulk and Walker each scored for the first time with the Blues, and St. Louis beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2, on Saturday night.

Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist, and Ivan Barbashev and Mackenzie MacEachern also scored for the Blues, who won their third straight game and have points in their last four. Jordan Binnington made 29 saves and improved to 13-4-4.

“Second period wasn’t great, but I thought the first and third were good and we had everybody contributing tonight, which is important for sure,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “I’ve said this before: We need everybody to chip in goals, and we did that tonight.”

Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin left the game early in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.

“It happened in the first shift of the game, which makes it tough because now you’re going with five defensemen all night,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I thought they fought hard. I thought we made some fatigue mistakes in the third period that maybe we wouldn’t have made if we have a guy like (Dumoulin).”

Sam Lafferty and Kris Letang scored for the Penguins, who lost their second straight game. Matt Murray, playing for the first time since Nov. 27, made 22 saves.

Walker’s first goal since Oct. 7, 2017, broke a 1-1 tie for St. Louis with 5:59 left in the second period.

Walker swatted a pass by Schwartz that deflected off Dominik Kahun’s stick in mid-air, and the awkward shot short-hopped Murray to make it 2-1.

“It is actually one thing I kind of worked on in the summer was batting pucks out of the air like that, trying to meet it when it hits the ice and I think I got a little bit lucky there as well,” Walker said.

Murray said he was fooled on the trick shot.

“It just bounced off the ice weird and no more than a foot and a half in the air just over my pad,” Murray said.

Walker, playing in just his second game since being called up from the Blues’ AHL affiliate in San Antonio, thought he had scored the night before against Dallas only to have the goal called back for an offsides call made after a review.

“It was a big goal,” Berube said of the one that counted. “I think it made us feel good about ourselves going into the third period.”

Barbashev made it 3-1 with his second goal in as many games, snapping a wrist shot into the upper-left corner after taking a feed from Robert Thomas in the high slot at 2:54 of the third period.

MacEachern added to the Blues’ lead when he redirected Jacob De La Rose’s shot from the point at 7:09.

“I thought our guys did a much better job in the third period of digging in and just doing the little things,” Berube said.

Letang’s shot from the point deflected off Alex Pietrangelo into the net to cut the Penguins’ deficit to 4-2 with 6:57 left in the third.

Schwartz scored his seventh of the year late in the third.

Faulk made it 1-0 at the 7:52 mark of the first period with his first goal since April 6. Ryan O’Reilly stripped the puck from Jared McCann and fed it to Faulk, whose wrist shot went off Murray’s right pad and into the net.

“Obviously it took awhile,” said Faulk, who snapped a 27-game stretch without a goal. “I don’t think it’s the longest one of my career. None of them feel great, but it’s nice to get that first one in.”

Lafferty tied the score 1-1 at the 6:27 mark of the second period. He used his speed to get past Derrick Pouliot, creating a breakaway that was capped by a backhand-forehand move to beat a sprawling Binnington.

It was the first of two meetings in four days between the Penguins and Blues. St. Louis travels to Pittsburgh on Wednesday for their final regular-season meeting.

Both teams were playing their second game in as many nights.

Penguins winger Jake Guentzel had his seven-game point streak snapped.

Categories: Sports | Penguins
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