By Rob Rains

Sidney Crosby knows there are going to be nights when he does not record a goal or an assist. He just doesn’t want there to be two of those nights in a row.

Crosby made certain that didn’t happen – again – Saturday night by scoring two goals and adding an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 win over the Blues at Scottrade Center.

The three points for Crosby, which moved him just three points away from becoming the 86th player in NHL history to score 1,000 points in his career, came after he was shut out on Friday night in the Penguins’ overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It was now been close to a year – since Feb. 24-27 of last season – since Crosby has gone two consecutive games without a point. He has scored at least one point in 35 of the 45 games he has played this season.

“They haven't come as easily as you would like,” Crosby said. “I had some good chances so it was nice to see a couple go in.”

Crosby’s first goal came at 15:50 of the first period, when he took a pass from Chris Kunitz and, while on one knee, sent a backhander past goalie Jake Allen.

After Kris Letang scored on a breakaway, picking up a loose puck after coming out of the penalty box early in the second period to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead, Crosby earned his 29th assist of the season when he set up defenseman Justin Schultz for a goal at 12:02 of the second period to increase the lead to 3-0 and send the Penguins toward their third consecutive win.

“Our start gave us some momentum,” Crosby said. “They don't give you a lot of time and space. We were able to get the lead and I think that allowed us to get to our game a little bit more. The last time we played them (a 3-0 loss on Jan. 24) we had to play from behind and it took us awhile to get into it and tonight was a little different.”

It was different because of Crosby.

"He's been fantastic for us,” said defenseman Ian Cole. “He's a world class player, the best player in the world. This year for us he's been our heartbeat. He's been the guy that kind of paces us all year and he showed tonight how great he can be."

Crosby added his second goal of the night, and league-leading 30th of the season, into an empty net with 18 seconds to play.

“He’s capable of making you pay one shift every game,” said Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. “Tonight was one of those nights where he was feeling it and when he's feeling it, it's a whole different level.”

The Blues have had success in keeping Crosby from having big nights against them in his career. Coming into the game he had scored only two goals in 13 career games against St. Louis, tied for the fewest against an opponent. He has scored only twice in 11 career games against the Edmonton Oilers.

Marc-Andre Fleury started in goal for the Penguins, his first start since Jan. 14. He lost his bid for his first shutout of the season on a goal by Patrik Berglund at 10:22 of the third period, stopping 22 of 23 St. Louis shots.

The Blues had defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night in their first game under coach Mike Yeo after Ken Hitchcock was fired. They have won consecutive games only once since Dec. 1.

“I know it’s been a long emotional week for everybody,” Yeo said. “We had a good game (on Thursday) and obviously this was not a good game. What I’ve said all along is we need to continue to build our game and that has to be our focus. We’ll take out of this what we didn’t do well and push forward.”

Each team lost a player because of an injury in the first period. Blues’ left winger Robby Fabbri suffered a lower-body injury when he was checked into the boards by the Penguins’ Carter Rowney. Yeo said he would have an update on the extent of the injury to Fabbru on Sunday.

Penguins’ left winger Carl Hagelin suffered an upper-body injury later in the period and also did not return. There also was no immediate announcement about how long he might be out.

NOTES: Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin missed his fourth straight contest since suffering a knee injury Jan. 24 against the Blues. There is a chance he could return for the team's next game Tuesday night at home against the Calgary Flames. ... The Penguins did not have a morning skate after arriving in St. Louis early in the morning following their overtime victory over Columbus at home Friday night. ... The Blues kept the same lineup for the third consecutive game, scratching RW Dmitrij Jaskin and D Robert Bortuzzo. ... The Blues open a five-game road trip Monday night in Philadelphia.


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