Even when he nets a power-play goal, a short-handed goal and an even-strength assist, Jordan Staal is not the story. Can't be. Not with Evgeni Lemieux -- or is it Mario Malkin? -- roaming around. Malkin made Tampa Bay defenseman Brett Clark look like Dick Clark on a memorable third-period goal Saturday in the Penguins' 8-1 victory. You feel lucky to be in the building when a great player scores a signature goal like that. I immediately thought of Jaromir Jagr swatting a puck out of midair on his stomach against Ron Hextall some 13 years earlier. Malkin finished with a hat trick and four points. He snatched back the NHL scoring lead from Steven Stamkos. He reminded everyone that he is the finest active player on the planet. But I'm here to talk about Staal, who has quietly revolutionized his game. He is a goal scorer now. He is a star in his own right. And he gives the Penguins an elite No. 2 center in case Sidney Crosby isn't ready for the playoffs.
Staal's quiet transformation
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Feb 26