PHILADELPHIA -- Jordan Staal's heavy heart obviously didn't slow him down.
In an admirable performance from a kid who had just attended services up in Thunder Bay Wednesday for his recently-deceased grandfather, Staal scored a pair of third-period goals last night in a 4-2 Pittsburgh Penguins loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final.
"It was actually nice to be out there," Staal said afterward. "It took my mind off things. Hockey is what I love to do and it wasn't hard to get back into it.
"(Wednesday) was emotional but, in one way, it probably helped only from the standpoint that I got some rest by not being out on the ice."
Staal arrived back here at 11 p.m. Wednesday night.
"It was a tough day," Staal said. "Our Opa was close to the whole family. He was an amazing man."
Staal expressed his gratitude to former Penguins teammate Mark Recchi, who played a significant role in setting up the private plane that carried Jordan on his one-day round-trip journey to Thunder Bay, then back to Philadelphia.
RECCHI TO THE RESCUE
"Recchi helped me out," Staal said. "He's an unbelievable guy and a great friend."
While Staal returned to the lineup, Gary Roberts remained sidelined. The veteran winger, who missed Game 3 against the Flyers Tuesday, has pneumonia and is out indefinitely, although coach Michel Therrien does expect him to be available later on in the post-season.
On the Flyers side, coach John Stevens is not counting out a return of defenceman Kimmo Timonen or Braydon Coburn, if not both, for Game 5 Sunday. Timonen has a blood clot in his leg while Coburn is recovering from taking a Hal Gill shot in the face in Game 2.