With Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Mark Letestu and now Dustin Jeffrey out of the lineup at the center position for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the load has fallen completely on one guy. His name is Jordan Staal.
Staal shined for at least one night on Thursday as his overtime goal propelled the Penguins to a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The whole play was created from nothing by No. 11, too. With about 20 seconds left on the clock, Staal picked the puck off the stick of Jack Johnson at center ice, skated into the Kings end all alone and beat Jonathan Quick with a quick wrister to the blocker side.
It was only Staal's fourth goal of what's been an injury-shortened season for the young star who's so often buried under the headlines featuring his teammates, Malkin and Crosby. On this night, he gave the Penguins -- basically an AHL team these days -- a vital win against an opponent that probably should have beaten them.
Jarret Stoll scored in the first period for the Kings, a goal that tied the score at 1-1 after Brett Sterling got the Penguins on the board early. Yes, Brett Sterling. Who's that, you wonder? Don't worry about it -- he'll probably be injured in three days.