PITTSBURGH - It’s not usually a smart game plan to give up the first goal in a game, but the Pittsburgh Penguins have found ways to win despite playing from behind.
The Penguins for the third time in seven games gave up a goal in the opening minute, but they didn’t let it phase them.
Goalie Tristan Jarry said before that it’s not easy to give up a goal that early but it’s important to not get discouraged and find different ways to get a boost.
This time, Jarry said that he has to always try and focus on the next save and stay in the game.
“You want to concentrate a little more,” Jarry said. “Just try and make the next save. That’s the best thing I can do to make sure I’m engaged and make sure I’m doing everything I can to put myself in a successful spot.”
The New York Rangers had the early jump not only on the scoreboard, but they were driving play and looked like the much better team.
Thanks to some help from the power play, a switch was flipped and the Penguins found their game.
“I almost feel like it was a tale of two games inside of sixty minutes,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “The first half of the game we just weren’t at our best… It was a lackluster performance for the first half of the game.”
Just past the midway point of the game, Evgeni Malkin extended not only his point streak but also a goal streak from the Penguins power play; both reaching nine games.
It was around that goal that the tides shifted in favor of the Penguins.
“When we got the first power play goal, it gave us some energy,” Sullivan said. “We got a boost off of that. I think from that point on we were the better hockey team.”
Many in the locker room pointed to Malkin’s goal as a game changer for the team and a huge momentum swing.
“We weren’t as good as we’d like to be in the first half of the game,” Bryan Rust said. “Getting those power play goals gave us a shot in the arm.”
Rust would go on to deflect a power play goal of his own and help continue driving the game in the Penguins favor.
Sullivan told his players that it's important for them to stay in the game emotionally and good things should follow.
"One of the things I said to the players is that in the absence of emotion it's hard to be at your best," Sullivan said. "We have to be invested emotionally first. When we are we're a good hockey team."
You never want to be the team that gives up the first goal, but it’s a good feeling knowing that the Penguins are a team that won’t let the first goal be the death of them.
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