Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Schenn Gets Noticed in Pittsburgh

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Schenn Gets Noticed in Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

When the Blues traded for Brayden Schenn on June 23, they knew they were getting power play prowess. They knew they were getting a physical presence.

But puck tossing? Who knew?

Call it a massive brain cramp. Call it temporary insanity. But when Schenn grabbed a loose puck, turned and threw it, oh, about one-third of the way down the ice with an underhand toss ...

"I was speechless," center Paul Stastny said. "I was kinda laughing because we were up 4-2. It almost backfired on us, but it didn't."

Schenn's two-minute penalty for closing his hand on the puck gave Pittsburgh a 5-on-3 man advantage. The Penguins proceeded to score two goals over the next 54 seconds to tie the game at 4-all.

But Alex Pietrangelo saved the evening with an overtime goal, making sure the Blues could laugh about Shenn's misplay after a 5-4 victory Wednesday over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

Truth be told, Schenn was one of the best players on the ice before the puck toss.

"He played great," Stastny said. "He was good, obviously, offensively. But he was good defensively coming out of the corners and not just throwing it up to the winger. I think having poise with it. Created room, created space and made a lot of nice plays out there."

Schenn scored the first Blues goal of the 2017-18 season in the first period when the puck deflected off his skate and into the net past Penguins goalie Matthew Murray. And check this it wasn't even on the power play.

Schenn scored 17 power play goals last season, tying for the league lead with Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov. Twenty-eight of Schenn's 51 goals over the past two seasons have come on the power play. Which sounds like a good thing.

But from a glass-half-empty perspective, Schenn entered camp knowing he needed to be more productive in even-strength situations.

"I've gotta try and find ways to create more chances and produce a little bit more 5-on-5," said Schenn, who was unavailable to the media after Wednesday's game but has spoken to reporters multiple times leading up to the season opener. "So that's something I'm going to put a focus on. Power play's one thing. . . . But this is a chance as well to grow your 5-on-5 game and get chemistry with your linemates and improve on that area of the ice."

Selected fifth overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2009 NHL draft, Schenn played in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Flyers for the past six seasons, averaging 22 goals over the past four campaigns.

But then came the trade, with the Blues sending Philadelphia Jori Lehtera, a first-round pick in the 2017 draft, and a conditional first-rounder in the 2018 draft for Schenn.

"I just think with Philadelphia, once they got that second overall pick unexpected moving up in the draft 12 spots and they knew they were going to get another forward," Schenn said. …

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