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Zatkoff to make NHL debut tonight in Florida

Oct 11, 2013, 1:48 PM EDT

Jeff Zatkoff Getty Images

Jeff Zatkoff may only be in the NHL because of Tomas Vokoun‘s health issues, but Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby doesn’t think the Penguins need to play in an overly protective fashion when the 26-year-old goalie makes his debut tonight in Florida versus the Panthers.

“I think he’s a good goalie,” Crosby said, per TribLIVE.com. “You don’t want to leave him hung out to dry or anything, but honestly, I don’t think we need to change the way we’re playing when he gets in there. He’s been good. He looks calm.”

Zatkoff has put up good numbers in the AHL. He had a .920 save percentage last season in 49 appearances for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Hence, general manager Ray Shero’s decision to see what Zatkoff can do, as opposed to acquiring a veteran backup for Marc-Andre Fleury while Vokoun is out.

While tonight’s start against Florida may seem like a relatively easy one, it’s worth noting that this is the home-opener for a Panthers team that’s actually played pretty well in two of its first four games. The Panthers managed 39 shots in beating Dallas, 4-2, last week and 34 in a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

  1. curioustraveler13 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    As long as they don’t play like the rangers defensively they will be fine. This game SHOULD be a cake walk, however sometimes these kind of games are a lot closer because the players don’t get excited for them. Here’s to hoping the pens bring there A game tonight.

    • claudegirwho - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      They’ll be excited to get this kid his first NHL win and make it a memorable one

    • claudegirwho - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      They’ll be excited to get this kid his first NHL win and make it a memorable one that is unless they pull a Claude girwho??? And make a disappearing act.

      • curioustraveler13 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        hahaha Olli Maata has more points then that “captain”, and hes a defenseman who might get sent down to junior league.

  2. erbaker67 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Everytime they come down here I get excited since I go. Then they lose. Been going to Penguins games vs the Panthers since 95. Havent seen them win since Lemieux, Jagr, Straka, Lang were in town and bought tickets 1st row at the blue line and Lemieux took the game off. So, not going tonight hoping they will win.

    • erbaker67 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      Nor am I saying that Ive been to every single one, just saying when I go, they lose.

      • dirt2013 - Oct 11, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        The Pens have won 8 of the last ten games they have played against FLA..You must really have bad luck.

  3. sjsharks66 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I think the Pens should win this game. Tampa is another story. That is going to be the tough Florida game.

    • curioustraveler13 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Ya this game should be like the morning skate for the Tampa bay game tomorrow. On a side note this metropolitan division is WEAK. So many soft teams.

  4. jkaflagg - Oct 11, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Good luck Jeff from your fans in the Ontario & LA Kings organization….you earned your chance.

  5. greatmiamisportsmind - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    lol, how was that 6-3 loss? good thing you were looking ahead to a tougher game with tampa

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