Sunday, October 2, 2022

‘It was just fun’: backup Domingue takes OT win for Penn

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — The Pittsburgh Penguins went into the playoffs knowing they would be without starting goalkeeper Tristan Jerry for at least the first two games. Late in a marathon opener against the New York Rangers, he lost to backup Casey Desmith.

Now, their post-season hopes may depend on their No. 3 goalkeeper – 30-year-old Louis Domingue – who had exactly one playoff appearance as of Tuesday night and played in only three NHL games over the past two seasons. He signed with Pittsburgh — his sixth team in five years — last September as a free agent and spent most of the season in the AHL.

Domingue was witnessing an extraordinary duel between Desmith and Rangers goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin, when Desmith was suddenly forced to leave the game late in the second overtime. Next up: Domingue, who had a meal of “spicy pork” between the first two additional seasons.

“I saw him go to the bench and I didn’t know why he whistled,” Domingue said. “I honestly thought they were joking with me – they were saying I had to go in. After that, I just went outside and played. It’s crazy, but I feel like this is my life. It’s hockey. is.”

He played and then made some 17 saves to push the game into the third overtime, where Evgeny Malkin scored on a deflection to give the Penguins a 4–3 win.

Domingue said, “You never know how things are going to turn out. I wanted to be back in the NHL this year. I think I tried to come back. I got a few chances here and there. Where I am today So happy to be there. I’m so lucky to be playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s one hell of a team.”

And one that awaits word on the health of Desmith, who had made a career-high 48 saves before quitting, to favor one leg as he was skating.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Desmith is daily and will be assessed on Wednesday. He had nothing but praise for Domingue, who has played 142 games with 126 starts in an eight-year NHL career, most of them with Arizona and Tampa Bay more than four years ago.

“It’s not an easy job when you’ve been sitting on the bench for so long,” Sullivan said. “He was on the bench for a long time. They immediately made some significant savings for us. I thought he did a great job in real tough situations.”

Domingue was properly tested as he had to make two saves on Adam Fox in his first 10 seconds on the ice.

“A shot in the stomach is exactly what you need to get into a game like this,” he said. “I felt good right away, I felt zero pressure. You dream about your whole life – you’re playing in overtime in the playoffs. You think you’d be nervous going into a situation like that but it’s me It was fun.”

The Desmith-Domingue combo ended an outstanding effort from Shesterkin, ending with 79 saves—the second-highest postseason total in NHL history.

Both Pittsburgh goalkeepers were applauded in the locker room after the game. Malkin, who also had an assistant, said he was not worried about Domingue when he went to the game.

“I know Louis is incredible,” Malkin said. “He’s big, he’s fast. I’m not nervous, it’s hard to score on Louie in practice. … He saved a couple of times immediately and I think we’re fine.”

New York has Game 2 of a best-of-seven series on Thursday night before moving to Pittsburgh for two matches.

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