When it comes right down to it, it's all about instincts.
That's the best way to describe Kris Letang's first of two goals for Pittsburgh Friday night in a 4-2 victory against Dallas at PPG Paints Arena.
"It's just instinct when you get that close to the net," Letang said. "You just try to pick the right time to shoot."
But it wasn't just his shooting instincts that made the goal so absurd. It was his patiently-double-juking-two-Stars-to-the-ice-before-driving-to-the-net-and-scoring instincts that really made the play so spectacular.
To recap: Sidney Crosby's line was cycling the puck low and the Stars collapsed to their goal line. Dominik Simon was able to chip to the puck to Letang above the circle. The Stars scrambled to get coverage on Letang.
First victim: Joe Pavelski. Letang collected the puck and motioned like he was going to shoot. Pavelski bit and the newest Star lunged to the ice and tried to block it. However, the shot never came. Letang corralled the puck and dragged it around Pavelski's outstretched skates.
Second victim: Tyler Seguin. Letang carried the puck into the dot and Seguin sprawled out. First, he dropped his stick to take away the passing lane to the slot. But the pass never came. Then, he kicked out his legs to take away Letang's shot lane. But the shot never came. In a rinse-repeat move, Letang pulled the puck around the prone body of Seguin and into the bottom of the circle.
Third victim: Anton Khudobin. With the puck at the goal line, Letang had an open lane to skate the puck to the net. He carried toward the Stars goaltender, who was crouched down to protect the lower portion of the net. Khudobin was caught between staying low or trying to defend a shot up high. Letang waited, waited and waited until Khudobin bit and lifted his leg pad for a split second. That was all Letang needed.
The Pens all-time defenseman snapped the puck through the five-hole to give Pittsburgh a lead it would never relinquish.
"I was able to fake the shot and get them to go down. I had to do it twice," said Letang, who admitted he was surprised the play worked a second time. "I was trying to find that backdoor play, but they were man-to-man, so it gave me room to go to the front of the net.
"I knew I was getting close so I had to make him open a little bit. I moved to the right to make him move and he opened the five-hole."
Game, set, match.
Video: DAL@PIT: Letang fakes defenders, pots go-ahead goal