Penguins defenseman Simon Despres couldn't have known about the vote of confidence his general manager had just given him.

That didn't stop him from making Ray Shero look like a smart man Sunday night.

Despres made the play that triggered Tyler Kennedy's overtime goal in a 2-1 victory against the Flyers. The Penguins have won 12 consecutive games and might not have had the opportunity for the victory without the 21-year-old defenseman's daring play.

Despres easily could have dumped the puck deep while Penguins forwards made a change — in fact, any hockey coach would have favored such a move — but the youngster possesses abilities that aren't always coachable.

“He'll make a play like once a night, where you go, ‘Whoa, you can't do that,' but he goes and gets it done,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said.

Despres made such a play in overtime, coolly waiting for forwards Kennedy and Pascal Dupuis to jump into the play while holding the puck at the Flyers' blue line.

“I knew our two forwards were coming,” Despres said. “I just wanted to slow down and wait for them. I couldn't get a good pass through to Duper, so I just banked it off the boards to him.”

Plays like that are part of the reason Shero traded defenseman Joe Morrow — he clearly is a believer in Despres' ability.

“Simon is not in any trade discussions,” Shero said following the first period. “To me, he'll be here on our team. We liked him as a prospect. He's a young player coming up like Kris Letang back in 2008. Kris didn't play every game in the playoffs (that year), but it was a great experience for him being around the type of players that we had.”



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