Jordan Staal is regarded as one of the top defensive centers in the NHL. His ability to shut down the opposing team's top scoring threats has earned him a spot among the game's most pesky checking line players. In this wildly entertaining Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the Penguins and Flyers that will extend to a Game 6 Sunday, Staal is making a strong case to eliminate "defensive" from that description. Attention 2012 Stanley Cup playoff fans: Staal is the NHL's leading scorer in the playoffs. He notched his sixth goal to tie the score in the second period in Friday night's Game 5 at Consol Energy Center. Then a few minutes later, his hard-working line produced the winning goal on a slap shot from Tyler Kennedy for a 3-2 victory that kept hope alive for a dramatic series comeback. "I'm just playing my game," Staal said. "I'm not just trying to score goals. I'm trying to play the way I've been playing all year. I've been fortunate to get a few." The Penguins have desperately needed Staal to produce offense in this series. With the Flyers keeping 50-goal scorer Evgeni Malkin in check -- he has two goals in five games -- Staal, Kennedy and Matt Cooke have emerged as something approaching a top scoring line rather than a checking line.
Staal comes up big again
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Apr 21