2011 NHL Playoffs: Jordan Staal Needs to Show Up for Penguins in Game 3

Mark LeskoCorrespondent IIApril 18, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 05:  Jordan Staal #11 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his first period power play goal against the New Jersey Devils at Consol Energy Center on April 5, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

In Game One Jordan Staal played a fantastic game. He picked up an assist and was a plus-1 in a 3-0 Penguins shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Staal was all over the ice making the little plays. The type of plays that do not show up in the stat sheet. Just watching the game you could tell that Staal was one of the best players on the ice (Sam Kasan of Penguins Report thought so as well).

Then came Game 2 and Staal was probably the most disappointing player on the ice.

Staal did not pick up a point, took a penalty, and was a minus-3 in a 5-1 Penguins defeat.

I love Jordan Staal as a player. He does so many of the little things to help the Penguins win.

However, no Sidney Crosby and no Evgeni Malkin means that Staal has to be the superstar he is capable of being.

When Crosby and Malkin are in the line-up, Staal could sort of hide from time-to-time.

Now Staal cannot hide and cannot have another performance like the one he had in Game 2.

It may seem unfair to put so much on one player, but just look at his two performances and the results.

When Staal played well, the Pens won. When Staal played poorly, the Pens lost.

It is time for Staal to step-up and accept the fact that he is the key to this Pens team now. I guarantee if the Pens are going to steal a game (or two) in Tampa, Staal will be at the center of the victory (victories).