For most of the last few weeks, almost everything was going right for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ top-line forwards.
On Saturday afternoon, almost everything went wrong.
Sidney Crosby couldn’t get a handful of brilliant scoring chances past goalie Jordan Binnington, Crosby and linemates Jake Guentzel and Jared McCann were on the ice for the first three St. Louis goals of the game and the Blues cruised to a 5-1 victory at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins, who had won six of their previous seven games, saw a three-game winning streak come to an end. St. Louis snapped a three-game skid.
The Penguins fell behind 2-0 in the first period when the Blues took advantage of a couple of mistakes.
On the play that led to St. Louis’ first goal, Guentzel covered for a pinching Brian Dumoulin, but he got caught up with defenseman Colton Parayko as he tried to defend a rush. That allowed Jaden Schwartz to feed former Penguins center Oskar Sundqvist for a shot and a goal from the top of the right circle as the late man entering the zone.
The play that became St. Louis’ second goal started with a Guentzel turnover inside the defensive blue line. It ended with Ryan O’Reilly digging a puck out of the right-wing corner and centering to Vince Dunn for an open shot from the slot.
On the third St. Louis goal, Crosby won an offensive-zone faceoff, but McCann broke the wrong way and couldn’t corral the puck. Jordan Thomas counter-attacked, swooped around the net and made a pass into the blue paint that banked in off Patrick Maroon 91 seconds into the second period.
When Maroon set up Jay Bouwmeester 70 seconds later to make it 4-0, goalie Matt Murray was done for the day, having stopped 9 of 13 shots.
The Penguins had their chances to get on the board in the first period, but they failed to score on two power-play chances. They got five shots on Binnington, but he stopped them all.
During the first advantage, Binnington swallowed up a Crosby one-timer from the bottom of the right faceoff circle. In the second period, he made a glove stop on Crosby on a breakaway.
During the second advantage, former Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo felled Evgeni Malkin with a hard, unpenalized cross-check to the ribs. Malkin was slow to get up but stayed in the game.
The Penguins broke Binnington’s shutout bid in the middle of the second period. Patric Hornqvist and Nick Bjugstad kept the puck alive during a broken play in the slot and Dominik Simon finished to make it 4-1.
Dunn added a power-play goal with about six minutes left for the Blues.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .