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Dan Bylsma: 'Jordan Staal was spectacular'

Thursday, 04.21.2011 / 7:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer / 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

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2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog
Dan Bylsma: 'Jordan Staal was spectacular'
James Neal's overtime heroics wasn't the only top storyline of Game 4 at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Penguins penalty-killers did a superb job in support of Marc-Andre Fleury, not only denying the Lightning on four power-play chances but limiting them to only three shots, including a single shot during an advantage late in the first OT. Tampa Bay had scored four power-play goals in the first three games.
 
Penguins center Jordan Staal was at the center of those penalty kills. Staal, who logged 28:33 of ice time, blocked two shots, doled out three hits and won 54 percent of his face-offs, was "spectacular" in the eyes of coach Dan Bylsma.
 
"We asked him to do a lot for our team and he's a huge guy down the middle for us at both ends of the rink," Bylsma said. "To log those types of minutes and play those situations, he's a big backbone and he was a horse again on the penalty-kill and in overtime, blocking shots, winning battles and keeping that puck in the zone to give Neal a chance on the game-winner."

His most important play might have come just 18 seconds before Neal's game-clincher in the second OT, when he won an offensive-zone draw from Adam Hall at the 3:20. It was his 19th face-off win of the evening. The only player remotely close to Staal in faceoff wins Wednesday night was Tampa Vincent Lecavalier with 15.

Quote of the Day

He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.

— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft