ST. LOUIS -- Some consider the Pittsburgh Penguins meeting the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup finals to be a pretty good bet in this season's playoffs.
Well, the teams met for real Saturday night, for the first of two meetings and the first time in St. Louis in nearly two years, with Blues prevailing 2-1 at Scottrade Center.
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game-winner, his first goal of the season, with 9:08 remaining. Shattenkirk simply flipped the puck at the net from the right point, and it squirted through the five-hole and under Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Blues right winger Vladimir Tarasenko might have distracted Fleury on the play. Tarasenko was in front of the net, tried to deflect the shot and missed. Fleury appeared to have the shot covered, but it trickled under him and in.
Right winger Ryan Reaves also scored for the Blues, who have lost just twice in regulation this season and are 11-2-2 for 22 points. Left winger Jussi Jokinen scored for the Penguins, who fell to 11-6 for 22.
The teams hadn't met at Scottrade Center since Jan. 24, 2012, when left winger Chris Kunitz netted the shootout winner in a 3-2 Penguins victory.
The game got off to a raucous start with Reaves and Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland squaring off after the opening faceoff, three seconds into the game.
The crowd loved it, but it precipitated an otherwise ho-hum first period, with the sides each finishing with nine shots. Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak made the save of the period, robbing center Sidney Crosby on a breakaway after right winger T.J. Oshie's giveaway in the neutral zone.
Reaves lit the red lamp early in the second period, staking the Blues to a 1-0 lead. At 2:22, Reaves redirected from the mid-slot a pass from center Maxim Lapierre at the right point. Left winger Alexander Steen and Engelland were tussling in front of Fleury, screening the Penguins netminder.
Pittsburgh tied the score at 1 a little more than five minutes later at 8:06 on the power play. With Blues defenseman Roman Polak serving an interference minor, Jokinen put one behind Jaroslah Halak on a sweet pass from center Evgeni Malkn.
Halak handled 15 shots through two periods, with his best stop on the Crosby breakaway. Fleury played well for the most part, other than Shattenkirk's goal trickling through. He robbed Oshie and center David Backes in the third period and made a big glove save on Steen's rifle on a 2-on-1 rush.
NOTES: With D Jordan Leopold (hand) sidelined, the Blues inserted D Ian Cole into the lineup for his third game of the season. Cole played on the third pairing with D Roman Polak. ... LW Chris Porter replaced LW Adam Cracknell in the Blues lineup and skated on a line with C Maxim Lapierre and RW Ryan Reaves. Cracknell was a healthy scratch. ... LW Magnus Paajarvi (upper body) and LW Brenden Morrow (ribs) are on IR for the Blues. ... LW-RW James Neal (upper body) and RW-LW Beau Bennett (lower body) returned to the Penguins lineup. Neal, who had missed 15 games, played on the right side with C Evgeni Malkin and LW Jussi Jokinen. Bennett, who had missed 11 games, skated on the left side with C Brandon Sutter and RW Matt D'Agostini. D Paul Martin, C Dustin Jeffrey and C Jayson Megna were healthy scratches. D'Agostini returned to the lineup after sitting out four games as a healthy scratch. ... RW Chuck Kobasew (lower body), D Rob Scuderi, (ankle) and G Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) are on IR for the Penguins. ... The family of C Joe Vitale, who hails from St. Louis, hosted the Penguins for an Italian dinner Friday night.