The first rematch between last year’s Eastern and Western Conference champions did not disappoint, as a thrilling game came down to an overtime finish. Jordan Staal pitched in a natural hat trick in the 3rd period and an assist on the overtime winner to seal the game, but there were plenty of other story lines in this one.
Pens captain Sidney Crosby finally got on the score sheet, scoring his first goal in 6 games, getting Pittsburgh on the board first. It was all Detroit for the next two and a half periods, and former Penguin Marian Hossa had two assists, helping the Wings reach a 5-2 lead in the early stages of the 3rd. Pittsburgh stayed tough, with Evgeny Malkin and Staal both notching goals in the early third, but Jiri Hudler put Detroit up 6-4 with a little under 10 minutes left in the period, and the game appeared to be over.
Staal wouldn’t quit however, and banged home another goal with 4 minutes left in the game. With only 23 seconds, Jordan pulled the puck out of a scrum in front of the net and slapped it home to send the game to overtime. Coach Michelle Therien rewarded Staal with ice time in the overtime period, where he stripped Pavel Datsyuk of the puck at the Detroit blueline, and fed Ruslan Fedotenko, who whipped it past Chris Osgood to win the game.
Malkin’s goal and his assist on Staal’s 3rd period goal gave him 24 points on the season, good for best in the league. Nicklas Lidstrom’s two assists gave him 949, placing him 9th on the all time list for points by a defenseman.