Wild hand Pens first regulation loss at home
o PITTSBURGH--New team and city for Eric Staal. The same old results against the Pittsburgh Penguins. o Staal scored early in the third period, Devan Dubnyk turned aside 39 shots and the MinnesotaWild dealt the Penguins their first loss at home i...
• PITTSBURGH-New team and city for Eric Staal. The same old results against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
• Staal scored early in the third period, Devan Dubnyk turned aside 39 shots and the MinnesotaWild dealt the Penguins their first loss at home in regulation this season, winning 4-2 Thursday night.
• Staal had a hand-and a stick-in three of Minnesota's four goals as a lineup infused with several minor league call-ups dropped Pittsburgh's home-ice record to 6-1-1. The Stanley Cup champion Penguins were 35-6-4 in their previous 45 home games.
• "That's a difficult task after as many days off as we had, to go up against that group," Dubnyk said after the Wild played for only the third time in 12 days. "They were definitely flying and we were trying to get our feet going again, and hands, and I thought we reacted real well. That was a real big win for us."
• Sidney Crosby scored his ninth goal in eight games as the Penguins converted on their first two power-play chances. But there was no comeback this time-and no more power-play goals-for the Penguins (9-3-2), who've rallied four times from multi-goal deficits already this season.
• "I think we gave up too much," Crosby said of a game that featured 85 shots, including 41 by the Wild.
• Not long after the Penguins killed off a 5-on-3 that lasted 45 seconds of 1:31 of total power-play time to start the third period, Staal skated around the side of the net, tripping Penguins defenseman Kris Letang along the way to free up more ice, then put a Charlie Coyle rebound past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
• Staal's fifth goal of the season was his fifth of the season and 22nd in 50 career games against the Penguins, most with Carolina.
• "They have a great team every year and, for me, it's a challenge that I'm always excited to be part of," Staal said. "Fortunately tonight I was on the right side of it. I've been on the wrong side of it, too."
• Penguins coach Mike Sullivan wasn't given an explanation of why Staal wasn't penalized for tripping Letang.
• "Listen, the refs are going to call the game the way they see it, we're going to worry about playing hockey out there," he said.
• Fleury, now 19-4-2 in his last 25 starts at home, made 40 saves, but gave up goals to Nino Niederreiter-on an assist from Staal-and Staal after Crosby and Patric Hornqvist put Pittsburgh up 2-1.
• "He's always on the net, he's got a long stick, he's a big body in front," Fleury said of Staal. "Yeah, he's a good player."
• The Wild, who added a late empty-net goal by Jason Pominville, were more productive offensively after being limited to one goal while dropping their previous two games.
• And Staal's been productive so far with five goals and six assists in 11 games after joining theWild. He spent his first 11 seasons with Carolina, winning the Cup in 2006, before finishing up last season with the New York Rangers.
• "I feel great, feel confident and that's a big thing in this game," Staal said. "There's a lot of positive vibes, (and) I can just go out and play, there's not the stress of a lot of other things that go with being where I was in the past. Hopefully it's going to lead to a great season for me."
• Staal was always under pressure to produce in Carolina, especially after brother Jordan Staal joined the Hurricanes.
• Phil Kessel set up Crosby and Hornqvist for goals on Pittsburgh's first two power-play attempts, but the Wild answered each time.
• Crosby didn't register a point for the first time all season as the Penguins rallied to beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 on Tuesday, but his perfect deflection of Kessel's shot from the left point eluded goalie Devan Dubnyk 7:53 into the first period.
• A delay-of-game penalty on Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley put the Wild on the power play late in the period, and Charlie Coyle tipped a Ryan Suter shot past Fleury at 18:09 following nearly 90 continuous seconds of Wild offensive zone time.
• Hornqvist restored Pittsburgh's lead at 7:33 of the second, dangling the puck on his stick in the right circle before putting in a bad-angle shot that deflected off Suter, giving him his fifth of the season.
• Minnesota came back only 1:34 later, when Staal's excellent pass set up Nino Niederreiter for his third of the season and the game's first even-strength goal.
• NOTES: Marc-Andre Fleury started in goal for Pittsburgh after Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray started and won the previous two games. Fleury was 6-2-2 in his first 10 games. ... The Wildplayed the first of 10 games in 17 days after not playing since Saturday. ... C Erik Haula returned to the Wild lineup after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. ... RW Zack Mitchell, a 23-year-old forward signed by the Wild nearly three years ago, played in his first NHL game. He was called up after scoring one goal in farm club Iowa's first 11 games. Rookie D Mike Reilly also was in the lineup. ... The Penguins scratched LW Tom Kuhnhackl, D Steve Oleksy and LW Tom Sestito.