Domingue boosts Penguins off bench in Game 1 win against Rangers

NEW YORK — Louis Domingue was hungry between the first and second overtime on Tuesday, so the Pittsburgh Penguins backup goaltender found some food in the locker room originally set aside for injury time.

“Spicy pork and broccoli,” Domingue said. “Not good.”

It certainly doesn’t seem like the best meal for a goaltender who, minutes later, had to jump off the chair he was sitting on in the Zamboni entrance for 4 1/2 periods of Stanley Cup Playoff hockey so he could get in play mid-of second extension.

But there was definitely something magical about this meal.

With a full stomach, Domingue made 17 saves after relief Casey DeSmith with 10:42 left, and the Penguins clinched a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers in third overtime in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first round at Madison Square Garden.

Yevgeny Malkin scored the winning goal at 5:58. Game 2 of the Best of 7 series is here Thursday.

“Honestly, I felt good straight away,” said Domingue. “I felt zero pressure. It’s what you dream of all your life. You play in overtime in the playoffs. Are you kidding me? You think you’re nervous going into that kind of situation, but I just enjoyed it .” .”

It’s not clear if Domingue will start in Game 2. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said after the game that DeSmith was being evaluated for a lower body injury.

“We’ll see how it goes, but as it stands now, Casey is out,” Sullivan said. “His status is day by day. We’ll see what happens, what we get tomorrow and we’ll make decisions accordingly.”

[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Penguins series coverage]

Domingue was the backup goalie for Game 1 because the Penguins are without Tristan Jarrytheir No. 1 goalie, who has been out since suffering a lower-body injury on April 14.

Jarry is not an option for Game 2. He hasn’t started skating yet.

So it could be Domingue’s strike for his first NHL playoff start and fourth overall since the start of last season.

Domingue, the Penguins’ No. 3 goaltender, has played two NHL games this season. He spent most of the season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.

“For me, I know Louis is incredible,” Malkin said. “He’s tall (6ft 3, 208lbs). He is fast. It’s hard to score points against Louis in practice.”

Penguins should now have more faith in Domingue after he fought for them in a difficult situation.

“I thought Louis did a great job,” Sullivan said. “It’s not an easy task when you’ve been on the bench for so long. It’s hard enough in a regular game, let alone the overtime we played. He sat on the bench for a long time.”

Correction point: Domingue sat in the corner at the Zamboni entrance because he said he was thrown off the bench early in the game.

“Not much room,” he said, laughing. “I think the tickets are more expensive next to the glass than they’ve cut the bank.”

It’s not easy sitting on the other side of the glass like that.

“I’d be lying if I said I was engaged the whole time,” Domingue said. “At some point you are also a fan and you want your team to score. I was just there and watching. It just comes at you fast, it’s crazy.”

Video: Malkin lifts Penguins to Triple OT win in Game 1

Domingue said he saw DeSmith roll onto the bench for the first time and wasn’t sure why the umpires called to stop the game.

It wasn’t until DeSmith started skating his way and the Zamboni doors flew open that he realized it was his turn for his second NHL playoff game. He made seven saves in relief for the Tampa Bay Lightning during a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 7, 2018.

“It so happened that I know both referees who were there, Jonny Murray and Frederick L’Ecuyer, both French, and I honestly thought they were joking with me when they said I had to go in,” Domingue said. “After that you just go out and play. It was crazy but I think that’s my life. It’s hockey.”

He saved the Rangers defender Adam Fox and held the puck in his stomach four seconds after it entered play.

“A shot in the gut is just what you need to get into a game like this,” said Domingue.

Domingue made 13 more saves in the second overtime and three in the third overtime before Malkin ended the 4 hour 38 minute marathon Game 1 with a defender deflection John Marinoshot from the top.

“I thought he did a great job under really difficult circumstances,” Sullivan said.

Notwithstanding the spicy pork and broccoli, of course.

“I haven’t been there,” Domingue said of the food. “What are you going to do?”

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