Jordan Staal takes extreme pride in his work, and he knew his showing against Montreal on Saturday wasn't acceptable. Only 24 hours later, he responded in typical fashion.
Staal scored a goal, added an assist and played a significant role in another virtuoso penalty-killing effort Sunday, as the Penguins rolled past Edmonton, 5-1, at Consol Energy Center.
"You don't see too many bad games from Jordan Staal," coach Dan Bylsma said.
Nor do you see Staal endure consecutive poor outings or often receive criticism from management. In Sunday's Edmonton Journal, Penguins general manager Ray Shero was quoted as offering a sharp comment on Staal's performance against the Canadiens: "He was horrible today."
Added Bylsma: "Jordan was not very pleased with his game (Saturday). He knew he didn't play very well."
Staal, who has taken on additional minutes and a leadership role with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin injured, has been hard on himself following losses. He was able to smile after this victory, which pulled the Penguins (40-22-8, 88 points) within three points of first-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division.
"Obviously, we didn't have our best showing against Montreal," he said. "We wanted to rebound and make it our best today."
Chris Kunitz scored twice, Max Talbot and Zbynek Michalek added goals and Marc-Andre Fleury -- who was yanked after giving up three goals to Montreal -- stopped 28 of 29 shots, as the Penguins easily handled the NHL's worst team.
"You take no team lightly in this league," Kunitz said. "Everyone needed to bounce back today, and we did."
Staal is a fixture on the league's top penalty-killing unit, which again was sensational, killing all four penalties it faced. The Oilers had a golden opportunity to take the lead when they were presented with a 96-second, five-on-three power play in the first period. Not only did the Penguins kill the penalty, they didn't allow a shot.
Staal, Penguins bounce back
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Mar 14