Penguins Notebook: Staal snaps short-handed drought

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DENVER -- Penguins forward Jordan Staal scored seven short-handed goals when he was a rookie, but didn't get any during his second season in the NHL.

In the Penguins' 5-3 loss to Colorado at the Pepsi Center yesterday, he made sure he wouldn't be shut out again during his third by getting a goal while the Penguins were killing a cross-checking minor to Matt Cooke in the third period.

Staal carried the puck down the right side and, after teammate Sidney Crosby drove toward the Colorado net, cut into the slot and threw a shot past Avalanche goalie Andrew Raycroft on the short side at 7:37.

"Sid did a great job cutting through both of the [defensemen], so I cut to the middle," Staal said.

"I got the goalie going one way, and shot to the other side."

That goal cut the Penguins' deficit to 4-3, but Colorado scored 51 seconds later while Cooke was still in the penalty box.

That gave Colorado its margin of victory and stripped much of the luster from the goal Staal manufactured.

"They did a great job of regrouping and getting a big goal right after that," Staal said.

"I thought [the short-handed goal] was going to be a nice spark for us, but, at the same time, we made a mistake on the [penalty-kill], and I was a part of that."

Goligoski sits again

Alex Goligoski is the Penguins' highest-scoring defenseman, with six goals and 13 assists, but that didn't prevent him from being a healthy scratch for the third time in the past four games.

"We have a lot of [defensemen], and they basically just told me that it is my turn to sit," he said.

Goligoski had been used as a forward during the Penguins' 5-3 loss Thursday in Nashville, but was bumped back to the press box yesterday when Hal Gill returned after being a healthy scratch for three games.

Goligoski seemed a bit perplexed by losing his place in the lineup, but did not express any anger or resentment.

"I know I'm a rookie and that nothing's going to be handed to me," he said. "I just have to keep working hard and, when you get your chance, take advantage of it, I guess."

Sticking to the plan

Coach Michel Therrien's decision to start Dany Sabourin, not Marc-Andre Fleury, in goal yesterday was a bit surprising, but apparently was something that had been decided well in advance.

"That was the plan before we left [on the trip]," Therrien said. "We wanted to do the right thing. It was the fathers' trip, and we wanted to give him a chance to show what he is capable of. That was the right thing to do."

Sabourin stopped 21 of 25 shots during the first two periods before being replaced by Fleury for the third.

"[Sabourin] was not great, he was not bad," Therrien said. "Just OK."

Minard notices mood change

Forward Chris Minard, summoned from the Penguins' minor league team in Wilkes-Barre when Pascal Dupuis was unable to play because of an apparent leg injury, logged nine minutes and 39 seconds of ice time.

He said he has not been told whether he will be going back to the Baby Penguins immediately and acknowledged that he could detect the difference between the atmosphere in Wilkes-Barre, where the team has been successful lately, and with the Penguins.

"When you go from a winning team to a losing team, you can just feel [the mood] of the players," he said.

"These guys will turn it around, I'm sure. They have a good bunch of guys in the room, and some really good hockey players.



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