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Penguins Vs. Blues: Brooks Orpik Returns As Pens Look To Continue Strong Play

Sports Network | October 23, 2010


(Sports Network) - Pittsburgh's slow start to the season has become a thing of the past.

The Penguins, who are expected to have defenseman Brooks Orpik back in the lineup tonight, go for a fifth straight victory this evening when they visit the St. Louis Blues and Scottrade Center.

Pittsburgh began the season with three losses in four games, but are now in position to win five in a row for the first time since Dec. 10-19.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have keyed the Pens' turnaround with five-game point streaks. Crosby has six goals and four assists over his run, while Malkin has totaled a pair of scores and five helpers.

Crosby had two goals and an assist in Thursday's 4-3 overtime win over Nashville, netting the game-tying goal with 7:04 left in regulation before setting up Kris Letang's game-winner with 1:11 left in overtime.

"In the third ... [the Predators] didn't really have much until they got that chance [for their third goal]," Crosby said. "I think we tried to just stick with it, got that third one, and overtime's kind of 50-50."

Letang added had two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves to win his first game of the season.

The streaking Penguins are also expected to have Orpik in the lineup for the first time since Oct. 9 -- their second game of the season -- because of a groin strain.

Pittsburgh hopes the return of its blueliner will help it slow down the Blues one night after St. Louis posted a 4-2 victory over Chicago to snap a 0-1-2 slide.

David Perron scored a pair of goals for a second game in a row, while Roman Polak and Patrik Berglund added third-period goals to help St. Louis improve to 3-0 at home this season.

"I thought he played certainly his best game of the year," Blues head coach Davis Payne said of Perron. "He was the difference maker, all 200 feet of the ice in a lot of different situations."

Jaroslav Halak was solid for his third win of the season by stopping 23-of-25 shots.

Pittsburgh has won two straight over St. Louis, including a 6-3 triumph in the last meeting in the Gateway City back on Nov. 1, 2008. That snapped the Pens' four-game series road losing streak.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.