Kapanen’s hat trick powers Penguins to 6-2 win over Blues

Dec 3, 2022, 5:02 AM | Updated: 8:10 pm
Pittsburgh Penguins' Kasperi Kapanen (42) returns to the bench after scoring the first of his two g...

Pittsburgh Penguins' Kasperi Kapanen (42) returns to the bench after scoring the first of his two goals against the St. Louis Blues during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

              St. Louis Blues goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) blocks a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins' Brock McGinn (23) with Blues' Nick Leddy (4) defending during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) is pushed away from the Pittsburgh Penguins bench by official Justin St. Pierre (12) as he is replaced in goal by Thomas Greiss during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pittsburgh Penguins' Kasperi Kapanen (42) gets a shot behind St. Louis Blues goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) for his third goal of the night, during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pittsburgh Penguins' Jason Zucker (16) returns to the bench after scoring during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) returns to the bench after scoring an empty-net goal during the third period of the team's NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              St. Louis Blues goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) stops a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins' Rickard Rakell (67) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              St. Louis Blues goaltender Thomas Greiss blocks a shot during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              St. Louis Blues' Pavel Buchnevich (89) is congratulated by Colton Parayko (55) for a goal during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              St. Louis Blues' Pavel Buchnevich (89) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pittsburgh Penguins' Kasperi Kapanen (42) celebrates with Sidney Crosby (87) after Kapanen scored during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. It was Kapanen's second goal of the period. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pittsburgh Penguins' Bryan Rust (17) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pittsburgh Penguins' Bryan Rust (17) celebrates with Chad Ruhwedel (2) after scoring against the St. Louis Blues during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pittsburgh Penguins' Bryan Rust (17) scores past St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
            
              Pittsburgh Penguins' Kasperi Kapanen (42) returns to the bench after scoring the first of his two goals against the St. Louis Blues during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The last two weeks were difficult for Pittsburgh Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen, as he watched from the press box.

The last two games have been rewarding for Kapanen and the Penguins.

Kapanen scored his second career hat trick and the Penguins beat the St. Louis Blues 6-2 on Saturday night.

“It hasn’t been the easiest month or so, but I’m happy to be out there playing games and winning,” Kapanen said.

Kapanen was floated in and out of the lineup for inconsistent play in nine of 10 games recently. But he responded with the game-winner on Thursday against Vegas and then his first hat trick since Nov. 6, 2021, during a home game against Minnesota.

“We’re thrilled for him,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “Obviously, it’s not an easy experience when you’re out of the lineup. But I think (Kapanen) has responded unbelievably well and we’re certainly thrilled for him.”

Bryan Rust had a goal and three assists, Jason Zucker had a goal and two assists, Sidney Crosby also scored and Evgeni Malkin added three assists to help the Penguins win their second straight and seventh in the last nine. Tristan Jarry stopped 26 shots for the Penguins, who are 9-2-2 in their last 13.

Pavel Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko scored for the Blues, who have lost three straight and five of six after a seven-game win streak. Jordan Binnington gave up four goals on 17 shots before being pulled in the opening minute of the second period. Thomas Greiss had 19 saves in relief.

St. Louis was without Jordan Kyrou, who leads the team with nine goals, due to an illness.

Pittsburgh got off to a strong start, scored three times in the first period as the Blues allowed three goals in a period for the sixth straight game and the 14th time this season.

“It’s not good enough,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “Until more guys step up and play better, and we start pulling together as a team, it won’t change.”

Kapanen opened the scoring at 6:58, just seconds after a Pittsburgh power play expired. A point shot hit his skate and then bounced off Binnington for the goal.

Rust added to Pittsburgh’s lead with his sixth at 11:59 after coming in with one goal in his previous 14 games.

Buchnevich made it 2-1 just 48 seconds later as he took a cross-ice point pass from Nick Leddy and beat Jarry to the short side with a one-timer from the far wall for his eighth.

Kapanen scored his second of the game to make it 3-1 with 3:05 left in the first. He took a spinning feed from Malkin and converted from the top of the crease with 1 second left on a Pittsburgh power play.

Pittsburgh was 27th on the power play entering the game with a recent 0-for-17 drought. But the Penguins scored with the man advantage in consecutive games for the first time since late October.

Zucker gave Pittsburgh a 4-1 lead just 1:51 into the second period. At the end of the first, Binnington clipped Zucker in the face with his glove while he circled the net. However, Zucker chased Binnington from the game when he beat him with a wrist shot from the left circle for his sixth.

Tarasenko scored on a breakaway at 8:22 of the second to pull the Blues within two. However, Kapanen finished off his hat trick a little more than two minutes later on a backdoor feed from Rust for his fifth of the season.

“That might have been the easiest hat trick in history, just going to the back post and kind of tapping them in,” Kapanen said.

UP NEXT

Blues: At the New York Rangers on Monday night in the middle game of a three-game trip.

Penguins: Host Columbus on Tuesday night to close a five-game homestand.

___

AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://www.twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Horse trainer Bob Baffert leaves federal court July 12, 2021, in the Brooklyn borough of New...
Associated Press

Baffert: 2-year Churchill Downs suspension hurt reputation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Churchill Downs never gave advance notice nor reached out to explain its two-year suspension, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Friday in federal court, and reiterated that the penalty has caused irreparable harm to his business and reputation. Baffert has sued the historic track and is seeking a temporary injunction […]
16 hours ago
FILE - United States Rosey Fletcher clears a gate during the women's snowboard parallel giant slalo...
Associated Press

Snowboarders sue coach, USOPC in assault, harassment case

Olympic bronze medalist Rosey Fletcher has filed a lawsuit accusing former snowboard coach Peter Foley of sexually assaulting, harassing and intimidating members of his team for years, while the organizations overseeing the team did nothing to stop it. Fletcher is a plaintiff in one of two lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles […]
16 hours ago
A person gambles as betting odds for NFL football's Super Bowl are displayed on monitors at the Cir...
Associated Press

Super Bowl prop betting increasing in popularity

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jay Kornegay was behind the counter in 2004 when someone approached with $5,000 to bet on the Super Bowl but had no idea how to decide. The man, not a regular sports bettor, thought for a few moments and decided to put it all on the Carolina Panthers to score exactly […]
2 days ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video ...
Associated Press

Column: IOC talks tough on Russia — until Paris on horizon

The IOC likes to talk tough — as long as it’s not heading into an Olympic year. Not surprisingly, as we draw ever closer to the cash cow that is Paris 2024, the hypocrites running the Olympic movement are eager to get Russia back in the games. They’ll surely find a way, despite Vladimir Putin’s […]
2 days ago
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs against Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McD...
Associated Press

Menacing charge against Bengals’ Joe Mixon is dismissed

CINCINNATI (AP) — Bengals running back Joe Mixon no longer faces a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing over allegations that he threatened and pointed a gun at a woman in Cincinnati. A Friday order dismissing the case in Hamilton County Municipal Court said only that the city prosecutor’s office requested the dismissal “in the interest […]
2 days ago
FILE -  Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving reacts during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game...
Associated Press

AP source: Kyrie Irving requests trade from Nets

NEW YORK (AP) — All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has asked the Brooklyn Nets for a trade, a person with knowledge of the details said Friday. The request comes less than a week before the trade deadline and possibly signals an ending to his tenure with the franchise, either then or after this season ends. Irving […]
2 days ago
Kapanen’s hat trick powers Penguins to 6-2 win over Blues