Blues vs Penguins Preview and Free Pick [1/24/2017]

St. Louis (23-19-5) at Pittsburgh (30-11-5)
When: Tuesday, January 24th 2017
Where: PPG PAINTS Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network

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Conor Sheary and the surging Pittsburgh Penguins host the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night at PPG PAINTS Arena in Pittsburgh. Sheary was just named the NHL’s First Star of the Week and the Penguins will be looking for their fifth straight victory and eighth in a row at home. Sheary recorded his third two-goal performance in four games following Sunday’s 5-1 rout of the Boston Bruins. Sheary (15 points in 11 games) and Bryan Rust (seven points in last four contests) are enjoying enormous success on a line with captain Sidney Crosby, who scored his league-leading 28th goal to highlight his three-point performance versus the Bruins. Evgeni Malkin (54 points), a former Hart Trophy winner, recorded two assists Sunday for his 16th multi-point game of the season. Malkin brings a season-best seven-game point streak (six goals, five assists) into Tuesday’s contest against St. Louis, against which he has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in as many career meetings. Goaltender Matt Murray has stopped 90 of 93 shots in his past three games and owns a 13-0-2 mark in his last 15 home starts.


Pittsburgh will be hitting the Blues at the right time as St. Louis is a mess defensively and in net. Usually one of the strongest defenses in the league over the last few years, St. Louis has recently been hit for 18 goals on its three-game losing streak, dropping the Blues to 26th in average goals per game allowed (3.1). Carter Hutton is expected to get the start versus Pittsburgh, but fellow goaltender Jake Allen returned to practice on Monday after being left home two days earlier for St. Louis’ 5-3 loss at Winnipeg. Paul Stastny scored and set up a goal against the Jets to raise his point total to 10 (five goals, five assists) in his last nine games. Fellow forward Patrik Berglund has tailed-off with a -4 rating in his last two games after scoring 10 of his 11 goals during a 15-game stretch. Vladimir Tarasenko leads the team in goals scored (20), assists (26), points (46), but has been held without a goal for seven straight games, prompting coach Ken Hitchcock to shuffle the Russian to a new line with Berglund and Robby Fabbri. Offensive-minded defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored twice on Saturday to record his fourth multi-point performance in the last eight games.

The Penguins are way too good at home right now and the Blues are in a funk. This one could get ugly early. Take the puckline.

Pick: Penguins -1.5 +145