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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Game Recap: Penguins 7 - Red Wings 6 [OT]

If there's ever a situation where you need to convince a non-hockey fan that they should start watching hockey, show them this game.

Jordan Staal scored three goals and assisted the game winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins came from behind to defeat the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings were ahead 5-2 in the third period when Evgeni Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 powerplay to cut the lead to two. Minutes later Jordan Staal cut that lead to one. The Red Wings countered with a goal from Jiri Hudler to widen the gap. Jordan Staal scored again, making it 6-5. Then, with the goalie pulled and less than 30 seconds left on the clock, Jordan Staal did it again to send the game to overtime. In the overtime period Staal stole the puck from Pavel Datsuk and set up Ruslan Fedotenko for the game winner.

I've never been that excited for a regular season hockey game in my life. I'll admit that I didn't treat this like a regular season game. Yes, it was for two points in November not the Stanley Cup in June, but it meant more than the average inter-conference road game. It meant the Penguins could compete with - and defeat - the team that many have already crowned 2009 Stanley Cup Champions. And they could do it without Marian Hossa.

Do people still want Jordan Staal traded? Today he displayed some of the potential that we've all been waiting for. Yes, there may be a day when the Penguins and Jordan Staal will part, but I believe that will be due to economics. Staal is a part of the core of this team just like Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Orpik and Whitney. He played a great game tonight. His assist on the game winning goal was a thing of beauty. It feels like Staal has woken up from his slump and hopefully he can continue to play like he did today. When he wants to be Jordan Staal is a huge game breaker.

I don't think the Penguins treated this like just another game either. You could see the joy on their faces as they won the game. You could see them leap over the boards in celebration. This meant something to them.

Unfortunately there was a downside to the game. Rob Scuderi took a shot to the foot early in the game. He tried to continue playing but ultimately left and did not return. Hopefully it's not serious but it could be a broken foot. The last thing the Penguins need right now is another injured defenseman.

The game was the fourth win in a row for the Penguins. They got off to a slow start but they now sport 9-4-2 record. The Penguins are four points behind the Rangers for the Atlantic division lead, but they have played three fewer games.

I feel that this team is definitely starting to gel and this is the kind of game that will truly bring them together as a team. Their next game is Thursday night when they face the Philadelphia Flyers at home.

1 comment:

debrisslide said...

Linked you on Puck Huffers. Thanks a lot!

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