Pittsburgh (21-16-7) at St. Louis (26-15-7)
When: Monday, January 18th 2016
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to sweep the two-game season series from the St. Louis Blues when the two teams meet on Monday night. The Penguins took the first meeting in Pittsburgh on November 25th on Evgeni Malkin’s overtime goal 4-3. The Pens dropped three out of four on their recent road trip, but returned home on Sunday to shutout the Carolina Hurricanes behind Marc-Andre Fleury’s 22-save effort. Captain Sidney Crosby scored two goals and has seven two-point performances in his last 13 games. Carl Hagelin made his Pittsburgh debut on Sunday, registering four shots and a plus-1 rating in just over 13 minutes of ice time. The 27-year-old Swede was acquired on Saturday from Anaheim, where he registered just four goals and eight assists in 43 games. The Penguins hope to have Kris Letang back in the lineup after the defenseman missed the game with the Hurricanes due to an upper-body injury. Defenseman David Warsofsky is also questionable after suffering a head injury in a collision with a lineseman on Sunday. Pittsburgh’s three losses on the road trip weren’t all that bad as they registered a point in two of those by going to overtime and are 4-1-4 in their last nine.
The Blues also have concerns on defense as Jay Bouwmeester has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury and is questionable for tonight’s game. Fellow defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, however, is not yet ready to return from a similar ailment and will sit out his fourth straight game. To help out, St. Louis recalled D Andre Benoit from Chicago of the American Hockey League. The Blues have fallen on hard times and have lost six of their last nine, but all three of those wins in that stretch have come in the last four games. They beat the Montreal Candiens on Saturday 4-3 in overtime on Jori Lehtera’s goal. Brian Elliott was terrific making 46 saves on the night for this third win in the last four contests. Vladimir Tarasenko ranks among the league leaders with 24 goals but enters with a five-game drought and has scored only two over his last 11 games. St. Louis is currently in third place in the Central Division, but have four-straight tough road games coming up beginning in Detroit on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh is playing the second of a back-to-back, while the Blues rested yesterday. The defensive injuries worry me a little for St. Louis, but it appears Elliott is on top of his game right now. I’ll take the Blues in this one.
Pick: Blues (no line yet)