Blues aim to extend streak vs. injury-riddled Penguins

The St. Louis Blues will look to pick up where they left off four days earlier when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena.

The Blues handled the Penguins 5-2 on Saturday in St. Louis. Wednesday will be the final meeting between the two this season.

St. Louis also can set a franchise record if they can earn at least a point. The team has a 10-game road point streak, one shy of the club mark, after topping the Blackhawks 4-0 on Monday in Chicago.

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The defending Stanley Cup champion Blues are 10-2-3 away from Enterprise Center so far this season, second-best in the NHL.

It's not just offense that is carrying St. Louis, which has won its last four. In those games, opponents have managed six goals, and for the season the Blues are among the NHL's stingiest teams, giving up 2.48 goals a game (ranked fifth in NHL).

"Our (defense) has been playing unbelievable. Unbelievable," said goaltender Jake Allen, who earned the shutout against the Blackhawks. "I don't really know how to describe it. Probably the best I've played behind in my tenure as a Blue, even last year. The guys are doing a hell of a job -- and that goes to the forwards as well, tracking, sticks, pucks, just being in the right area at the right time.

"Everyone's committed right now. It might be boring hockey, but that's the way we play, and that's the way we won last year."

It's not clear whether Allen will be rewarded with a second straight start after the shutout or Jordan Binnington, who beat the Penguins on Saturday, will start Wednesday.

Pittsburgh has some questions about its goaltenders, too. Backup Tristan Jarry has been getting more starts lately and is 4-1-0 since mid-November, while No. 1 goalie Matt Murray has been a bit subpar.

After he was 7-3-0 in October, Murray won just twice in 10 starts in November with an .867 save percentage, and allowed three or more goals in seven of those games.

Murray took the loss Saturday in St. Louis, and Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said Murray was sharp at the onset of the game before tailing off some.

"He made some real big saves early in the game, especially on St. Louis' (first) power play," Sullivan said. "Those are the type of saves you need to have in order to win games. We know that he's capable of doing that for us."

Beyond goaltending, the Penguins' big issue is health. They continue to struggle with injuries at what seems to be approaching an unprecedented level.

Already without team captain Sidney Crosby and fellow center Nick Bjugstad, who both had core muscle surgery, and defenseman Justin Schultz, they lost three players in a four-day span in the past week.

Friday, top-line winger Bryan Rust got hurt during a morning skate. Top-pair defenseman Brian Dumoulin got hurt in the first minute of the game at St. Louis and underwent ankle surgery. And Monday energetic winger Patric Hornqvist got hurt in practice. The Penguins on Tuesday said Hornqvist will be out longer term.

And those are just the latest players to miss games, as the Penguins have topped 100 man-games lost.

That led many to point to forward Jared McCann's response this week as the definitive description of Pittsburgh's injury-riddled season: "At this point, you just have to smile. I mean, well, (crap)."

--Field Level Media

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