Pittsburgh, PA, United States (4E Sports) – David Backes scored the lone goal in the third period to lift the St. Louis Blues to a 1-0 triumph over the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday at CONSOL Energy Center.
Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin had just exited the penalty box after taking a high-sticking penalty, when Alexander Steen launched a slap shot over Brandon Sutter, who slid to stop a potential pass.
However, the shot deflected off of Backes and behind Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Blues the lead with 8:40 remaining in the final period.
Blues goalie Brian Elliott stopped 33 shots in his fourth shutout of the season as the Blues (48-16-7) pulled even with the Boston Bruins with 103 points. However, the Bruins hold the tiebreaker for first place in the standings with more non-shootout wins.
The Blues, which now lead the Central Division by six points, improved to 20-5-1 against the Eastern Conference this season.
Fleury made 26 saves, but failed to earn his 35th win of the season for his fourth consecutive start since shutting out the Washington Capitals on March 11 as the Penguins (46-20-5) remain six points back of Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
St. Louis faced a Penguins 5-on-3 for 1:32 to start the second period after Jaden Schwartz was called for tripping Malkin with T.J. Oshie in the penalty box and 6.3 seconds left in the first.
However, the Blues’ Western Conference-leading penalty kill killed both penalties while allowing three shots.
Pittsburgh failed to score on five power plays after scoring on three of their six chances against the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday.
In the third, Fleury kept the game tied by steering a wrist shot from Patrik Beglund to the right corner with a pad save.
Elliott answered just more than a minute later by making a glove save on an Olli Maatta slap shot while falling backwards with 13:45 left.