Penguins notebook: New backup goaltender Zatkoff strong in win
September 24, 2013 8:00 AM
Kris Letang backhands the puck past Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin in the third period for the first of his two goals in the Penguins' shootout win.
By Shelly Anderson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Penguins, with a well-stocked lineup, staged a third-period comeback and then beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2, Monday night in a shootout at Consol Energy Center to improve their preseason record to 2-2-1.
James Neal and Sidney Crosby, the Penguins' first two shooters, beat Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin in the shootout.
Rookie goaltender Jeff Zatkoff stopped 30 of 32 Chicago shots through regulation and overtime and stopped both shooters he faced in the shootout.
He started because Tomas Vokoun is out indefinitely after having a procedure to have a blood clot dissolved. There was no update on Vokoun.
"I knew the situation going, but I tried not think about it. I just tried to play my game and have fun with it," said Zatkoff, who had played in preseason NHL games but never started one, preseason or regular season.
"I've waited my whole life to start an NHL game."
Zatkoff traveled to an earlier preseason game and said he picked Vokoun's brain on the flight home.
The Penguins dressed their top two forward lines and what is considered their top defensive pairing of Kris Letang and Rob Scuderi.
Chicago won the Stanley Cup in June but for the game dressed a lineup that was short on stars and heavy on minor league players and prospects.
Bryan Bickell scored twice for Chicago in the second period. He batted a puck past Zatkoff for what was technically a short-handed goal but came just as a four-on-four was expiring, and then tipped in a Jeremy Morin shot on a Blackhawks a power play. Brandon Pirri assisted on both goals.
Letang responded with two goals in the third period.
He stole the puck from Chicago's Sheldon Brookbank for a breakaway and beat Khabibulin with a backhander, then scored a power-play goal to tie the score with 2:16 left in regulation.
Matt D'Agostini, a free-agent signee in the offseason, played just two shifts in the first period before leaving the game. Coach Dan Bylsma said D'Agostini has an unspecified injury and is day-to-day.
He has been making a pretty strong run at the right-wing spot on the Penguins' third line.
Assistant Martin likes post
Jacques Martin knew quite a bit about the Penguins before he became an assistant coach with them for this season. He had coached against them, was on the 2002 Canadian Olympic coaching staff when owner Mario Lemieux played, worked with general manager Ray Shero when the two were with Ottawa.
But it's difficult to really know the ins and outs of an organization until you are part of it.
"I've been impressed with a really good work ethic," Martin said of the Penguins. "They're really thorough in their applications. The coaching staff does a great job of teaching the system and paying attention to detail.
"What I like, too, is the philosophy of playing with pace, a fast game. Highly skilled, but also high tempo."
Martin's role hasn't been fully, or at least publicly, defined. For a preseason game Monday against Chicago, he was behind the bench with head coach Dan Bylsma and assistant Todd Reirden, with assistant Tony Granato working from upstairs.
"We're just moving along with camp," Martin, 60, said. "Dan is probably getting a feel for me, where I fit in. I'm very happy with the progress and the process.
"Any way I can help, whatever areas he feels he wants to use me, I think I'm open to it.
"I'm really enjoying my experience."
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury couldn't get enough of watching a fight in a preseason game Sunday between Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Toronto's Jonathan Bernier.
"I've always been a fan, since I was pretty young," Fleury said of fights between goalies. "You don't see it too often. It's pretty exciting. As a fan, as a player, it's pretty cool to see."
Miller and Bernier squared off as part of a brawl between the players from both teams.
Fleury was impressed that Bernier was able to free his right arm by shaking loose of his jersey and equipment on that side, freeing him to better throw punches.
"It's not like the other players," Fleury said. "We've got the extra [equipment]. It's a little tricky."
If the situation arose where he was challenged or felt compelled to fight an opposing goaltender, Fleury said he would like to think he would be game, but he understands there are risks.
"I fought twice in junior," he said. "I was all right, pretty good. It was fun."
"I broke my knuckle on the guy's face. That was the bad part about it."
He had his hand in a cast for two weeks.
Winger/enforcer Steve MacIntyre was claimed off of waivers by Edmonton. He was part of the Penguins' training camp cuts Sunday and would have been assigned to their American Hockey League affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, if he had cleared waivers.
This is the second stint with the Oilers for MacIntyre, 33, who played in 13 games with the Penguins over the past two seasons.
The Penguins sent forward Bobby Farnham to Wilkes-Barre, trimming their camp roster to 34. Farnham has been out because of a foot or ankle injury, but he skated Monday before being reassigned.
Defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who, like Farnham was injured in the first preseason game, remains out with an unspecified injury.