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Staal sparks Pens to OT win in Detroit

by Brian Compton /
The talk going into Tuesday night's matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena was centered around Marian Hossa's first game against the team he played for in last spring's Stanley Cup Final.

By the end of the game, it was all about Jordan Staal.

The 20-year-old scored three times in the third period and made a remarkable defensive play to set up Ruslan Fedotenko's game-winner at 3:49 of overtime as the Pens rallied for a wild 7-6 victory against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Detroit, which won last spring's Final against Pittsburgh in six games, held a 5-2 lead after two periods. But the Penguins scored four times in the third and tied the game on Staal's third tally of the night with just 23 seconds left on a rebound that went off Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.

"We can come back from anything," Staal said. "We knew that this was a great team, and we didn't come out strong enough. But this team's got heart, and we battled back."

Hossa chose to sign a one-year deal worth about $7.45 million with the Stanley Cup champions and turned down nearly $50 million over seven seasons to stay with the runner-up Penguins, saying he had a better chance to win a title in Detroit. He had 2 assists, 5 shots on goal and a minus-2 rating on Tuesday night.

''There are no hard feelings from this dressing room,'' Staal insisted.

While he may have thought a lot about facing his former team going into the game, Hossa said it was just another game once it got under way.

''After the puck dropped for the first faceoff, I didn't even think about it,'' Hossa said. ''I just tried to focus on my game.''

Staal got his team within 5-4 when he scored his first goal of the night at 8:09 of the third period, but Jiri Hudler restored Detroit's two-goal lead just 2:05 later. It was then that the Wings were really feeling that they had weathered the storm and would escape their rink with a victory.

''I thought it was going to be over when Hudler scored,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ''Then we self-destructed.''

Staal's second goal with 4:09 left pulled Pittsburgh within one, then forced overtime when he whacked at a rebound and knocked it off Lidstrom and into the net.

Staal saved his best work of the night in overtime, when he hustled to strip Pavel Datsyuk of the puck before feeding Fedotenko for the one-timer past Chris Osgood, who allowed seven goals on 34 shots.

''It seemed like everything I touched went in,'' said Staal, who had just two goals in his first 14 games. "I've fed Feds a couple of times before, and he does a great job of burying it. I was lucky to get it to him."

Hossa said he wasn't surprised to see Staal have the type of game that he did. The young center was a plus-4 on the night.

''He's always in the shadow, but he's a good player — maybe underrated,'' Hossa said. ''He plays with power and takes the puck well to the net.''

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored the game's first goal at 4:34 of the first and also added two assists. His goal marked the only time that Pittsburgh had the lead in regulation.

Darren McCarty, Tomas Holmstrom, Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg and Datsyuk also scored for Detroit. Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves for the Penguins and did not face a shot in overtime.

Evgeni Malkin extended his points streak to 11 games with a goal in the third period that went Pittsburgh's way after Staal scored with a two-man advantage at 6:57. Maxime Talbot notched his fourth goal of the season at 4:14 of the second to cut Detroit's lead to 3-2.

''All of a sudden they started skating, got the 5-on-3 goal and we couldn't stop them,'' Hossa said. ''We have to learn from it, but it's early in the season. We have to turn the page and get ready for the next game.''

The win pulled the Penguins within four points of the first-place New York Rangers in the Atlantic Division. Pittsburgh still has three games in hand on the Blueshirts, who are off to an 11-5-2 start.

"It was a great game," Staal said. "Again, we knew they were a great team, and so are we. We came out with the effort that we wanted, and the two points that we wanted as well."

Contact Brian Compton at:

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.

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