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Post-Game: Staal lifts Pens to OT Win; Johnson impresses in season debut

Playing without several regulars, including the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke to name a few, the Penguins gutted out a 2-1 win victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, snapping a two game losing streak.
Staal scored with 18.4 seconds left in overtime to lifting Pittsburgh to needed victory.
“I just buried my head and fired as hard as I could,” Staal said, who has several chances late in the third and early in into overtime.
Marc Andre Fleury made 33 saves in the win and his play down the stretch was pivotal to the Penguins earning a victory.
The Penguins won the type of game, they are going to have to win without Crosby and Malkin; Low Scoring.
Prior to last night’s game, the Penguins recalled four players from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, forwards Nick Johnson, Ryan Craig, Brett Sterling and Joe Vitale.
The Penguins were outshot 13-5 in the first period but the callups brought some energy and life to a lackluster Penguins team over the previous two games.
Johnson and Sterling wasted no time in making their mark on a line with Dustin Jeffrey.
Sterling got Pittsburgh on the board just 6:53 into game, buying a puck from the slot over Jonathan Quick’s shoulder for a 1-0 lead.
Johnson assisted on the goal and helped setup the goal with great wall play along the boards.
Johnson was very impressive in the victory as questions continue why he has always gotten overlooked on the callup list. He never looked out of place last season either during a six game stint.
Many scouts feel his game projects better at the NHL level and although it was just one game, Johnson was very noticeable, active in the offense zone but was also strong in all three areas of the ice.
He did the little things well, especially on the breakout along the boards in the defensive zone. Very good start for Johnson thus far.
You saw a quicker, more energized Penguins team on Thursday night.
With the win, the Penguins improved to 35-17-4, 74pts, however, the win ended up being costly as the Penguins lost another key contributor of late.
Dustin Jeffrey suffered a lower body in the second period of the game. The injury is believed to have happened when Jeffrey went flying into the net on an offensive rush.
“He will not be going with us on the trip and is getting evaluated by our doctors tomorrow, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said in his media session. Jeffrey will miss tonight’s game against the New York Islanders and Sunday afternoon against the New York Rangers.
All four recent callups have made the trip to New York as Chris Kunitz and Arron Asham will not play in either contest.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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