Steen's remarkable scoring pace continues for Blues

News-DemocratNovember 9, 2013 

While his goal-a-game pace has been something to behold this season, it's really nothing more than his typical hard work that has Alexander Steen finding the back of the net so often.

Steen's 14 goals in 14 games leads the NHL and has been a big reason the St. Louis Blues are off to a 10-2-2 start.

He and the Blues' top line continue to supply the bulk of the team's scoring, with coach Ken Hitchcock hoping for more production from the other lines.

The Blues --6-1-1 at home --continue their five-game homestand Saturday when Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins (11-5) visit Scottrade Center.

Steen leads the NHL with 14 goals and also has 20 points. He and linemates David Backes (six goals, 15 points) and T.J. Oshie (two goals, 12 points) have combined for 22 goals and 47 points.

That's a big chunk of the entire team's 48 goals and 132 points. Steen also is riding a career-best nine-game scoring streak and has tallied points in 13 of 14 games.

"It's interesting," Hitchcock said. "We don't need that line to score to win all the time, but we need it to be effective in whatever role we give them. (Steen) is able to absorb any role we give him."

Steen's teammates have seen the dedication, focus and hard work he puts into every game. He is the first Blues player with 14 goals in 14 games since Brett Hull netted 16 in 14 games in 1990-91.

"He's not just lucky," Blues center Maxim Lapierre said. "It all happens because he's working really, really hard and he gets the bounces he deserves."

Steen also is making his shots count, scoring on 28.6 percent of them with 14 goals on 49 shots.

Hitchcock said it's important to look past Steen's goal total to see all the other things he brings to the total team effort. He remains one of the Blues' best defensive forwards and penalty killers, who also has four goals on the power play.

"I don't view him as an offensive player, I view him as a complete player," Hitchcock said. "He's a guy that you trust when you put him out there at the start of the game, you trust him when you put him out there at the end of the game.

"He has a great conscience for things being done the right way, whether it's training, fitness, game-planning, whatever. He's a guy that you feel comfortable putting on the ice in every situation."

Defense supplies offense

Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has an assist in seven straight games, while defenseman Jordan Leopold collected his first two assists of the this in Thursday's 3-2 victory over Calgary.

Scouting the Penguins

While the Penguins are leading the NHL's Metropolitan Division, their four-game streak was blasted away Wednesday with a 5-1 road loss to the New York Rangers.

The Penguins were held to a 1-for-8 night on the power play.

Crosby (eight goals, 23 points), Chris Kunitz (eight goals, 16 points) and Evgeni Malkin (three goals, 14 points) are Pittsburgh's top scorers, while Jussi Jokinen has seven goals.

Malkin has gone nine games without a goal. Right winger James Neal (upper-body injury) has resumed practicing for the first time in more than a month.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (10-3, 2.07 goals-against) has started 13 of the team's 16 games.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or on Twitter @NormSanders

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