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Goal by Kennedy ... Mister Kennedy

by Larry Wigge
PITTSBURGH -- Tyler Kennedy said he loves it when the Mellon Arena crowd shouts his name -- whether it's for a big goal or a big hit -- like they do in WWE Wrestling for the Mr. Kennedy performer.

"Kennedy. M-I-S-T-E-R K-E-N-N-E-D-Y."

In Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, it wasn't a big hit or bump. Kennedy's fans shouted out his name for the goal he scored at 14:12 of the second period to cap a three-goal rally in a span of 5:37 Thursday night, one that powered the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings and evened the series at two games apiece.

"That was maybe the loudest they've shouted my name," an excited Kennedy said. "It wasn't like scoring in Game 7 of the Cup Final like I did a thousand times on the driveway of my house in Sault Ste. Marie, but it's easily the biggest goal of my career -- and it's a pretty good feeling, especially since I didn't get a goal in the Final last year."

Kennedy, who will turn 23 on July 15, is one of those grind-it-out wingers who plays hard and occasionally gets his name on the score sheet. He had career-highs with 15 goals and 20 assists in the regular season and he now has 4 goals and 3 assists in 21 playoff games.

Two of his goals in the first round of the playoffs were game-winners against the Philadelphia Flyers. Thus, the big-goal reputation.

"With centers like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, you have to learn quickly that after you pass the puck, you go to the net and if you don't put your stick down, you're crazy," Kennedy added. "On the goal, I raced to get the puck and gave it back to Kunny (Chris Kunitz) and then when I headed to the net and Chris gave it to Sid, I knew I had to get my stick down. I knew where the puck was going to go.

"That's all I had to do, because Sid just rang it in off my stick."

And in case you have to hear the reaction of the Mellon Arena fans one more time, the goal was by: "Kennedy. MR. KENNEDY."

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