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Staal trumps big brother's playoff goal

NHL.com @NHL

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Until now, Jordan Staal's older brother Eric had the biggest goal in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs.

Not anymore.

Jordan Staal trumped his brother and kept the Pittsburgh Penguins' season alive for one more game.

The 20-year-old forward snapped a scoreless deadlock 51 seconds into the second period Tuesday night and sent the Penguins on their way to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings that forced a seventh game in the Stanley Cup finals.

"It's always nice to get that first one, especially here in this building," Staal said. "The fans really took off with it. I think our team had some momentum off of it."

In the first round of the playoffs, Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes scored the winning goal against New Jersey's Martin Brodeur with 31.7 seconds left in regulation of Game 7. Now Jordan has a goal every bit as impressive to brag about at the family dinner table.

He can also match his brother in the championship ring department with one more win. Eric and the Hurricanes came out on top against the Edmonton Oilers in 2006, the last time the finals went the distance.

"Well, a Staal might as well win it again, I guess," Jordan said.

Staal got free at the point in Pittsburgh's defensive zone and raced up ice on a 2-on-1 break with teammate Matt Cooke. With only Jonathan Ericsson back on defense, Staal let go a shot that goalie Chris Osgood stopped with his chest.

Staal got to the rebound and flipped it in to give the Penguins a lead they never relinquished.

Staal is no stranger to dramatic moments in the finals. His short-handed tally in Game 4 rallied the Penguins into a 2-2 tie and provided the spark for Pittsburgh's three-goal outburst in a span of 5:37 in the second period.

The Penguins went on to win 4-2 and avoided dropping into a 3-1 series hole that would have been nearly impossible to overcome.

"Jordan Staal, with his skating ability and his size, can be a force in the defensive zone, he can be a force with his speed through the neutral zone, he can be a force in the offensive zone," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "We saw him do that numerous times tonight where he was a force in whatever zone he was in.

"He's just learning what he can do out there, and tonight was a game he did it on both ends of the rink."

Staal posted only one assist in the seven games before his one-goal, one-assist performance against the Red Wings in Game 4.

"It's obviously nice to chip in whenever I can," Staal said. "I thought I played pretty solid throughout the whole series. Some things don't go your way, but I thought our line was solid."

The Penguins' task still isn't easy. The Game 6 win extended the series to a final game, but it will be played in Detroit. The home team has won every game in this series.

Pittsburgh went 9-2 at home in the playoffs to get to this point.

However, the Penguins have been outscored 11-2 - including a 5-0 defeat Saturday in Game 5 - at Joe Louis Arena in three losses during this series, and the Red Wings are 11-1 at their rink in the postseason.

The Penguins went 1-2 there a year ago in the finals. Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby hasn't scored a goal in Detroit in the six games during the two championship rounds.

"We're comfortable with the way we're playing and we obviously need to bring the same effort we did tonight with us Friday," Staal said. "We know that they're going to come out harder and we have to match their intensity and obviously take control of the game there."

They wouldn't have that chance if not for the defensive play by Rob Scuderi in the third period.

First, he swept a puck out of the crease after it had trickled behind goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with 9:49 left. Then he acted like a goalie and made three saves - stick, skate, skate - before a pileup in the Pittsburgh net forced a faceoff with just over 13 seconds remaining.

"It's the longest 13 seconds you can handle for sure," Staal said. "There is always that thing in the back of your mind that you want to keep back there - the inevitable. You just want to fight through anything you can handle. I thought we did a pretty good job of that.

"I definitely held my breath there. I really held my breath. It was an unbelievable play."

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