The Pittsburgh Penguins came back from a 5-2 deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. Jordan Staal led the way with a hat trick to send the game to overtime. The in OT, Staal fed Ruslan Fedotenko for the game-winning goal to beat the same team that celebrated with the Stanley Cup at Mellon Arena.
The period started out promising. Maxime Talbot brought the puck in to the zone, dropped it to Miroslav Satan and he threw the puck low to a slashing Sidney Crosby who crossed the goal mouth and backhanded it past Chris Osgood.
However, that was where the positives died. The Penguins are not a great hockey team right now, and taking penalties (against anyone) is something that has to be avoided.
Pittsburgh did a terrible job at this, committing three penalties in the period.
Thomas Holmstrom took advantage of the second penalty and deflected a shot by Niclas Lidstrom, making the score 2-1. Darren McCarty scored the first Detroit goal earlier in the period.
The Penguins took the third penalty at the end of the third period, which gave the Red Wings the man-advantage going in to the second period.
And it was a killer. A puck deflected off Brooks Orpik to Jiri Hudler. Hudler then passed the puck to the right to Johan Franzen, who easily put it home past an out of position Marc-Andre Fleury just over a minute in to the period.
Oddly enough, the goal seemed to be an energizer for the Penguins. From that point, Pittsburgh became quicker, stronger and developed more scoring chances. Shots were more consistent and the period ended much closer in that category because of it – Detroit outshot the Pittsburgh 12-9 in the second period.
Three minutes after Franzen’s goal, Sykora found the puck behind the net and circled around, firing a pass to the front of the net where Talbot was standing. The puck went off of Osgood’s pad, off of Talbot’s skate and in to the net.
Pavel Datsyuk gave a huge blow to the Penguins’ progress, though, as he fired a slapper from just inside the blue line through a screen by Holmstrom and in to the near side of the goal. Brooks Orpik was standing in front of Holmstrom but didn’t put a body on him and thus allowed the Red Wings to take another two goal lead in to the period break – this time up 4-2.
The way the Pens came out in the third period would determine the fate of the game. An early goal was a must to sway the momentum and give Pittsburgh a chance.
Instead Crosby committed a needless interference penalty, allowing Henrik Zetterberg to score on the power play and put the game totally out of reach.
Or so it seemed.
The Red Wings quickly committed two penalties, giving the Penguins a 5 on four power play with nearly a full two minutes to operate.
The Pens couldn’t capitalize in the first minute, and took a timeout with 50 seconds left to regroup. When play resumed, Crosby passed down low to Satan, who then passed to the point to Malkin. Malkin took a hard wrister, which caught iron and went in to make the score 5-3.
The power play soon ended, but the pressure continued by Pittsburgh. A good forecheck by Mike Zigomanis, Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal led to another goal just 1:02 later to make the score 5-4.
Once again, though, Detroit answered with sixth goal. Jiri Hudler streaked in to the Penguins’ zone and fired a shot that slipped between Fleury’s arm and body and barely trickled past the goal line.
Again it seemed over.
But it wasn’t.
Staal got a rebound off of a shot from the blue line by Kirs Letang and shot through a screen by a mass of players to bring the Pens back in the game once again, 6-5.
At this point, you knew Fleury would be pulled and we all thought, “could Max do it again?”
Not Max, but Staal could.
Staal got rebound off of a Malkin shot and threw the puck in to tie the score at six.
Before the period ended, Staal continued to dominate the game and drew a penalty that led in to the overtime period.
The penalty didn’t lead to a direct goal, but it was very important in the complexion of the game. The Penguins were able to start out with immediate momentum and it led to what was the game-winning goal.
Jordan Staal, staying aggressive, back-checked and stole the puck just outside the offensive zone creating a two on one break with Ruslan Fedotenko. Instead of going for his fourth goal, Staal passed and Fedotenko buried a shot past Osgood to win.
– The music Detroit plays at home games is possibly the worst I’ve ever heard. Pop music is fine, but not at hockey games. Last year their goal song was a Gwen Stafani song, which I found very odd. I heard several tunes during the game that made me wonder … why?
– Staal and Talbot have been the best two players for Pittsburgh recently. Specifically against the Red Wings, Staal was the best on the ice. Max played with so much passion as well. He has been the only guy to speak out about Hossa, and obviously played with more emotion than anyone else on the Penguins’ roster.