Staal lifts Penguins to overtime win
Maybe it was fitting that Dan Bylsma's 100th victory with the Penguins came on this night. He was coach at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before he came here, and he must have felt like he was back in the American Hockey League on Thursday at Consol Energy Center.
With six players who started the season in the minor leagues at his disposal, Bylsma and the Penguins finished a 2-1 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Kings when Jordan Staal scored with 18.4 seconds remaining.
"I've got the puck," Bylsma said. "It's nice to get into triple digits."
The Baby Penguins did a pretty fair job filling in. They scored, they fought and they got hurt — just like the big guys.
"Great win," left wing Pascal Dupuis said. "The Wilkes-Barre guys were good — really good."
With many key players out of the lineup — add Dustin Jeffrey, who dominated at Wilkes-Barre earlier this season, to the injury list after he left at the end of the first period with a lower body injury — the Penguins went toe-to-toe with one of the NHL's more talented teams.
Brett Sterling opened the scoring at 6:53 of the first period. He took a feed from Jeffrey and buried a shot over Jonathan Quick's glove. Nick Johnson was credited with the other assist. Those three formed a standout line earlier this season in Wilkes-Barre.
"I thought the line of Jeffrey, Sterling and Johnson in the first period was our best," Bylsma said.
The Penguins kept it simple the rest of the way, a Bylsma suggestion after back-to-back losses. This, the Penguins insist, is the way they must play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup.
"It's never going to be pretty hockey," Staal said. "We did a great job of battling through."
The Penguins need to sparkle defensively to keep winning with this lineup, and they did against the Kings. Zbynek Michalek made two impressive plays in the first period, robbing Justin Williams and Andrei Loktionov of goals. He fought off both players to clear pucks from the crease, with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury out of position each time.
"He saved my butt once or twice," Fleury said.
Ryan Craig, who joined Joe Vitale, Johnson and Sterling as the latest arrivals from Wilkes-Barre, dropped the gloves in the second period. So, too, did Deryk Engelland.
The game was tight throughout, and Staal nearly had a chance to win it with a second left in regulation. But Scuderi, whose big saves are nothing new to Penguins fans, swept aside Staal's opportunity.
"Typical Rob Scuderi fashion," Bylsma said.
The Kings dominated overtime, but Fleury kept the Penguins alive. Then, Staal found a wrist shot through Quick's stick side.
"I just buried my head and fired as hard as I could," Staal said.
The Penguins play nine of their next 11 on the road. Staal, perhaps the team's most important player at this point, said he feels confident.
"The guys from Wilkes-Barre are doing an unbelievable job," he said. "It's nice that those guys are ready to play. It's something every team deals with. Hopefully, we'll get through it."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Crosby, Malkin chase scoring title amid defense-minded league
- Penguins notebook: Crosby says he would play goal if needed
- Penguins forwards struggle in loss to Avalanche
- Penguins need trade-deadline acquisitions to bring toughness
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- Penguins notebook: Team exercising caution with Ehrhoff’s return from concussion
- Starkey: Penguins not mortgaging future
- Penguins GM Rutherford not counting on Dupuis’ return
- Under Rutherford, it’s been a sizeable shakeup for Penguins
- Trade for Winnik gives Penguins competition among bottom six
- Finding perfect pairing for Ehrhoff key for Penguins