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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.

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It's a little different but it feels amazing. A new chapter in my life and I'm excited. It's been amazing. Better than I expected. The weather is great, the place is just amazing. I can't say enough good things about it. I'm glad to get the season going.

— Ryan Kesler on his transition to the Anaheim Ducks