Jordan Staal Reigns God-Like as Pens Stun Red Wings in OT

It promised to be a great rematch between last season’s Stanley Cup finalists, and for Jordan Staal and the Pittsburgh Penguins it turned into a personal and team statement about resilience!  After falling behind 5-2, the Pittsburgh Penguins posted one of the most significant comebacks in recent years against the seemingly invincible team that bested them for Lord Stanley’s prize in June.  Long overdue for a breakout, it was Jordan Staal who put the team on his back in the 3rd period and carried them to an improbable overtime frame by scoring 3 consecutive goals for the hat trick.  But he wasn’t done there.  In the overtime frame, Staal stunned the Stanley Cup champions by stealing the puck from Pavel Datsyuk to force a turnover and then threading a cross-ice  pass to Ruslan Fedotenko who buried the puck in the net to win the game.  The 7-6 victory powered the Penguins to their 4th straight win and improved their record to 9-3-2. 

In the 1st period, the Penguins jumped out to a quick lead on a goal by Sidney Crosby to make it 1-0 at 4:34.  Tenaciously chasing the Red Wings into their own zone, Max Talbot stripped the puck away and passed it back to Miroslav Satan coming across the blueline.  Satan fed the puck to Crosby at the net, where he backhanded it through the pads of Chris Osgood.  At 13:21, the Red Wings bounced back on a goal by Darren Mccarty, his first of the season, off from a chip pass by Kirk Maltby.  Then at 13:43, Mike Zigomanis took a tripping call to set up the league’s best powerplay unit.  At 15:19, with Ziggy in the box, Tomas Holmstrom tipped in a shot by Niklas Lidstrom to make it 2-1.  Marian Hossa also picked up an assist.  With 32 seconds left in the period, Alex Goligoski (holding) took the Penguins 3rd penalty which would carry over into the 2nd.  The Penguins were outshot 14-5 in the 1st, were 2-for-3 on the penalty kill, and 0-for-1 on the powerplay. 

In the 2nd period, the Red Wings scored with 19-seconds left on the 1st period carryover penalty to Alex Goligoski.  Mikael Samuelsson attempted a cross ice pass that got caught up in Brooks Orpik’s skates, before Jiri Hudler collected it and placed it on the blade of a wide open Johan Franzen who beat Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 3-1.  At 4:14, however, the Penguins drew within a goal as Petr Sykora threw a puck on net that deflected off from Max Talbot’s skate and across the goal line.  Sidney Crosby and Petr Sykora were credited with assists on Talbot’s goal.  But with under 2-minutes left to play in the period, Pavel Datsyuk let a hard one-timer rip from the point that eluded a screened Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 4-2.  Marian Hossa and Niklas Lidstrom were credited with the assists.

In the 3rd period, it looked as if the Red Wings were going to finish off the Penguins as they built a 3-goal lead on a powerplay goal at 5:03 while Sidney Crosby sat for interference.  Henrik Zetterberg took a cross ice feed and placed the backhander into the open side of the net to beat Fleury and extend the lead to 5-2.  The Red Wings then got into penalty trouble as Johan Franzen and Vilttari Filpulla each took hooking calls 5-seconds apart to give the Penguins an extended 5-on-3 opportunity.  After some early frustration, the Penguins took their timeout to regroup and discuss a change-up in their set play.  They then came back out and executed a pass play to perfection that moved the puck to the side of the net first, before moving it back out to Evgeni Malkin at the point for the one-timer.  The play turned the Red Wings defense around and got Osgood out of position as Malkin’s shot blistered into the far side of the net to make it 5-3.  Miroslav Satan and Sidney Crosby picked up the assists on the goal.  Then a little over a minute later, the Penguins drew to within a goal as Jordan Staal chipped a backhander into the net at 8:09.  Matt Cooke and Mike Zigomanis were credited with the assists on Staal’s goal.  At 10:14, however, the Red Wings got a goal back as Jiri Hudler launched a big blast that trickled behind Fleury and into the net just out of the reach of a scrambling Kris Letang.   With just over 4-minutes left in the game and trailing 6-4, Jordan Staal collected a rebound in traffic and beat Chris Osgood to make it interesting as the Penguins trailed by just one goal again.  Matt Cooke and Kris Letang got the assists.  Then with just 23-seconds left in the game and Marc-Andre Fleury at the bench for the extra attacker, Jordan Staal collected another rebound in traffic and fired it into the net for the hat trick and the improbable game tying goal.  Evgeni Malkin and Alex Goligoski were credited with the assists.  With just 4-seconds left in regulation, Brian Rafalski took a hooking penalty that would carry over 1:56 seconds into the overtime period.  The Penguins finished the 3rd period by outshooting the Red Wings 16-8.

In the overtime period, the Penguins were unable to score on the 4-on-3 but managed 3-shots on net.  After the penalty expired, Pavel Datsyuk was attempting to carry the puck out of his zone with Jordan Staal approaching from behind on the backcheck.  Staal lifted Datsyuk’s stick and stripped him of the puck and turned it back into the Red Wing’s zone.  Staal then placed a perfect cross ice pass onto the stick of a streaking Ruslan Fedotenko who one-timed it past Chris Osgood to win the game 7-6 with 1:11 left in the overtime.

Penguins vs. Red Wings

Jordan Staal had 4-points (3G, 1A).  Sidney Crosby had 3-points (1G, 2A) and led the team with 6-shots on net.  Evegeni Malkin had 2-points (1G, 1A) to keep his NHL leading points streak alive at 11-games.  He also leads the NHL in points (24) and assists (19).  Miroslave Satan (2A) and Matt Cooke (2A) each picked up 2-points.  Defenseman Rob Scuderi left the game with an ankle injury after blocking a hard-shot in the 1st period.  He returned briefly, but then left the game in the 2nd period and didn’t return. 

The Penguins return to the Mellon Arena where they will face the cross state rival Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

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