That lasted only two games, however, before Stastny found a new face
shield for Monday night's game -- and saw an immediate difference in
Stastny turned in his first four-point performance in more than six
years, leading the Blues to a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Stastny scored one goal in the third period and assisted on two more
after also recording an assist on the Blues' first goal in the first
period. It was his first four-point game since Dec. 2, 2009, when he
was playing for Colorado at Florida.
"I felt like I could see so much more and not playing so hesitant,"
Stastny said. "I had to switch right away. It's a little different,
but it's so much more clear ... For me it's easier looking kind of
on the outside of my shoulder. It gives me a little more time to
know where the guys are coming.
"When you put that (full cage) on you realize I played with that
until I was 20 and then I switched over, but I've been going 10
years without it. Putting it back on is completely different. The
game moves so fast that every split second makes a difference."
With the game tied at 2, Stastny set up right winger Troy Brouwer
for the go-ahead goal just 2:10 into the third period. He increased
the lead to 4-2 with his fifth goal of the year and capped off the
night by assisting on an empty-net goal from defenseman Kevin
Shattenkirk in the closing seconds.
Stastny's line also accounted for the game's first goal, from left
winger Alexander Steen, his 14th of the season but first in 10
"I thought we were real good for a few games when we first got put
together, scored a goal or two but never really got going," Brouwer
said. "I like the potential of our line."
Coach Ken Hitchcock has the same opinion.
"They're going to have success because they are the sum of parts,"
Hitchcock said. "There isn't exceptional speed but there's a
tremendous amount of hockey sense. This is two games for Paul where
he has played at a very high level, and I think that helps when the
center is playing at this level."
The Blues' strong third period came after the Penguins took a 2-1
lead on center Evgeni Malkin's 20thgoal of the year at 15:56 of the
second period. But that lead lasted just 1:18 before right winger
Vladimir Tarasenko responded with his 25th goal of the year to again
tie the game.
The goal snapped a five-game drought without a goal for Tarasenko,
his longest of the season.
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The win was the fourth in the last five games for the Blues as they
handed the Penguins their first regulation loss in five games.
Pittsburgh fell to 2-7-1 in the second half of back-to-back games
"I thought we played really well for two periods," said Penguins
goalie Jeff Zatkoff, playing for the first time since Dec. 31.
"Maybe we just lost a little bit of steam. Credit them, they came
with a push. No excuses but we've played a lot of hockey lately and
a lot of games and they're a big physical opponent. The third went
their way and that was the difference in the game."
Center Sidney Crosby knows the Penguins have struggled in the second
half of their back-to-back games, a problem the team needs to
"We've got to find ways to win those games and we're going to see
more and more as the season goes along," Crosby said. "If we want to
push into the playoffs we've got to find ways to do that."
NOTES: The Blues got D Jay Bouwmeester back after he missed four
games because of a concussion. The team was without D Robert
Bortuzzo with a lower-body injury. ... D Andre Benoit was recalled
from Chicago of the American Hockey League and became the 10th
defenseman to play in a game for the Blues this season. ... The
Penguins recalled D Derrick Pouliot from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of
the AHL but he was a late scratch when D Kris Letang was able to
play. ... D David Warsofsky missed the game for the Penguins with a
concussion suffered in Sunday's game. ...Monday night's game was the
last in the regular season for the Penguins outside the Eastern time
zone. ... The Blues begin a four-game trip on Wednesday night at
Detroit while the Penguins return home to host the Philadelphia
Flyers on Thursday night.
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