Jan 24, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund (21) scores a penalty shot against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the third period at the Scottrade Center. The Penguins defeated the Blues 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Penguins Invade Scottrade Center for Premier Cross-Conference Matchup

What: Pittsburgh Penguins  vs. St. Louis Blues

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Scottrade Center

TV: Fox Sports Midwest

Radio: KMOX 1120

There are certain games over the course of an NHL season that don’t need to be hyped. Saturday’s game at Scottrade Center is one of those games.

The Blues will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a matchup of cross-conference heavyweights. On paper, this game presents a marquee matchup for more than one reason.

Most notably, the Blues and Penguins are both off to fast starts in 2013. Both teams have 22 points, however, Pittsburgh sits in a much better position standings-wise.

The Penguins (11-5) lead the Metropolitan Division and are tied atop the Eastern Conference with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Blues (10-2-2), on the other hand, are third in their division and tied for seventh with the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference.

Admittedly, The Blues have played the least amount of games in the league (14) and have several games in hand on many of the teams above them in the standings. However, the difference between the Penguins and Blues’ standing in their respective conferences goes to show the evident disparity  in competitiveness between the Eastern and Western Conference.

Additionally, Saturday night will feature a showdown between two of the leagues top players statistically. Sidney Crosby leads the NHL in points with 23, while Alex Steen sits alone atop the NHL in goals scored with 14.

Crosby, a former No.1 overall draft pick in 2005, is used to being near the top of the league in scoring year in and year out. However, Steen is entering uncharted territory in regards to his goal scoring numbers. The 29-year-old winger has never scored more than 24 goals in a season.

Once again, Saturday night will be another opportunity for Steen to validate his outstanding start as he faces-off against one of the top teams in the league.

Additionally, starting Saturday night, the Blues will begin a tough three-game stretch in their schedule. After playing the Penguins, the Blues will face the Phoenix Coyotes (5th in Western Conference) on Tuesday night before a matchup Thursday against the  surprise team in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche, who currently lead the Central Division.

The next three games (all at Scottrade) will provide a chance for the Blues to climb the Western Conference standings and assert themselves as a team to beat in the West.

Will the Blues seize the opportunity? Let us know in the comment sections below.


Tags: Alex Steen NHL Sidney Crosby St. Louis Blues

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