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Stanley Cup Final

Zatkoff, Penguins already thinking about the next one

Goalie shares thoughts heading into Game 4 with NHL.com

by Jeff Zatkoff / Special to NHL.com

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff  will be writing a blog for NHL.com throughout the course of the Stanley Cup Final. Zatkoff will check in after games and on some of the days between games.

Here is Zatkoff's entry Sunday between Games 3 and 4:

SAN JOSE -- Initially we were frustrated at losing Game 3 in overtime the way we did. We were frustrated because we didn't feel like we played our best game. At the same time we had a chance to win it, so you've got to remember that.

A couple hours later, once we got back to the hotel, had dinner and just wound down, you realize that we were right there and it's one game. It's a race to four and they're a good team and it was a good game, pretty even. Their guy made a great play in overtime, and that's the difference.

Obviously it's disappointing we didn't get it, but we'll move on. It's a new day. We still have an opportunity to get a split here in San Jose. We'll go after that Monday.

For me, the experience in Game 3 was a little different. I typically like to watch the games from the press box, but there are no available seats in the press box here because it's a smaller press box. So I watched the game down in the changing room with the other guys who weren't playing and our two strength coaches.

It's real nerve-wracking because we have a digital clock in the room that is linked to the scoreboard clock, and it's 10 seconds ahead from the NBC feed that we're watching.

You see the whistle and you know we have offensive zone time, so you're like, 'Did we score?' And it's like, 'Oh, no, we just went offside.' When they score you can hear the horn, but when we had the puck we were like, 'We've gotta cover the clock because it's nerve-wracking.'

We didn't cover the clock, but every time in overtime when there was a whistle and no horn, we were so intense.

It's more suspenseful watching on TV with a delay. I personally like to be able to watch it live, but given the circumstances we were all down there and it's fun to be around the other guys who aren't playing, watching and cheering together.

Video: Jon Morosi discusses the Penguins on NHL Tonight

But the tension in there, it's terrible. It really is a roller coaster of emotions. I'm not playing, but I still feel that pressure and tension.

It's crazy how you feel mentally when you win an overtime game versus when you lose one. Not being able to have any control of that is the hard part for me. So maybe during the game I don't feel the pressure on myself, but I still feel the nerves for the team, for guys out there. We all wish we were playing and we all want to win.

We practiced Sunday, got in a good workout and got ourselves thinking about the next one. There's nothing we can do about Game 3. It's over, so we have to get ready for Game 4. We'll get back to the hotel, have dinner, relax and prepare.

I'll have a morning skate Monday with some of the guys that aren't playing and the assistant coaches. That's kind of my time to shine right now.

We play a little 3-on-3, so I get joy out of shutting down Sergei Gonchar. He's my No. 1 target right now. I like to go after him.

I tend to think he likes blocker side. He can still play. If it's 3-on-3 there, give him some open space, and he makes some plays. He's deadly out there, so I always have my eye on him when he's floating around. I'm OK if one of the other guys tucks it by me, but I'm making sure he doesn't get the last laugh.

In all seriousness, it is fun to be out there doing that in a 3-on-3 setting. It's not a pressure situation. It takes your mind off of the game. We have a lot of fun with it.

But you have to remember, the guys in that 3-on-3 game, other than Gonchar and Rick Tocchet, we're all one play away from potentially being in the lineup, so it's a chance to get in a semi-game situation where you can get competitive, still get conditioning and work on your reads.

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