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Staal the King's Men

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
MONTREAL, Quebec – Jordan Staal is largely regarded as the Penguins’ best penalty killer. But his performance on the power play against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre may warrant some more playing time on the man-advantage from head coach Dan Bylsma.

Staal, who played on the power play due to the absence of Sidney Crosby from the lineup, recorded three points on the man-advantage with a goal and two assists to help the Penguins score four power-play goals and top the Canadiens, 5-2.

“It was nice to get out there on the power play,” Staal said. “With Sid out of the lineup, I had a chance to get out there and do my best. We moved the puck around really nice and hopefully, I can keep going out there.”

Jordan Staal is returning to the ice,” Bylsma said. “It’s difficult sometimes to get the hands going, the feet going and the brain going at the same time. Tonight he got rewarded for it, got on the scoresheet, which is great to see.”

Staal’s three points were his first on the 2010-11 campaign. He missed the first 39 games of the season while recovering from a foot infection and broken hand, making his debut at the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic on Jan. 1.

Staal got his first point of the season 4:12 into the second period after cleanly winning a faceoff in the near circle of the Habs zone. Seconds later, his road roommate Tyler Kennedy one-timed a shot into the net.

Staal scored his first goal of the year, and his first since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Montreal on May 12, 2010, with just 10.9 seconds left in the second period to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead.

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Staal received a pass at the right faceoff circle and ripped a shot that somehow sneaked through Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who was flush against the post. It was Staal’s first goal in exactly eight months to the day.

“It’s been five games, but also eight months since I got one,” Staal said. “It’s a nice feeling. Hopefully, I can keep doing it.”

Staal finished off his three-point night by picking up an assist on Alex Goligoski’s third period power-play goal 2:33 into the final frame. Staal created havoc for Price in the crease with his strong body and screening ability.

A shot hit Staal and the puck dropped loose in the paint. Staal caused problems for Price, and Goligoski was able to swoop in and score a goal.

“That one hits Jordan and drops into the crease,” Bylsma said. “We’ve got guys converging. Goligoski, a defenseman, gets the goal.”

Staal was finally rewarded for all his efforts with three points on the stat sheet, but more importantly to him was the two points the Penguins picked up in the standings at the expense of Montreal.

“They play us hard every time,” Staal said. “The way it ended last year in the playoffs, we wanted to give our best effort. The way things have been going we wanted to rebound. It was nice to pick up this one.”

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