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Angello scores first NHL goal after getting 'a call out of the bullpen'

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

Even though he wasn't originally supposed to be in the lineup for Tuesday's game against Toronto at PPG Paints Arena, Anthony Angello was planning to take warmups regardless.

But right before he took the ice, the rookie forward was told to be ready because Evgeni Malkin wasn't feeling well - so Angello prepared like he was going to play whether he was in or not. And sure enough, the 23-year-old ended up getting the call at literally the last minute.

As Angello was about to head down the runway, his locker stallmate Jared McCann shared a premonition.

"I've got to give it up to McCann here," Angello said as they sat next to each other following the game. "Right before the game, he goes, 'Hey, I got a good feeling you're going to do something.'"

Tweet from @penguins: You can learn all about Anthony Angello's first NHL goal, straight from the man himself!You'll also learn that Jared McCann can predict the future...? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/nhIU6Ey8Nn

And he wasn't the only one, as Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan also had a good feeling about the kind of night that Angello was going to have. They both turned out to be right, as Angello scored his first NHL goal and point in the 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs.

"I said to Anthony Angello on the bench right after the national anthem, 'Sometimes when you get a call out of the bullpen like you did, sometimes you play your best games,'" Sullivan said. "And then sure enough, he goes out and he scores a goal. We were thrilled for Anthony."

Angello slotted in on the fourth line with Andrew Agozzino and Sam Lafferty. As the clock ticked down the final minutes of the first period, Angello backchecked to create a turnover in the neutral zone and sent the trio back the other way.

"We got into the zone, played simple, won some battles," Angello said. "Then I went and stood at the netfront there, which is what one of my strengths is."

Lafferty pushed a pass down to Justin Schultz, who threw it over to Marcus Pettersson. As Laffety circled into the slot, he got the puck back and quickly snapped a shot. Angello - who measures 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds - deflected it down through Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen's pads and in.

Video: TOR@PIT: Angello nets deflection for first NHL goal

"Took the goalie's eyes, 'Laffs' had a nice shot," Angello said. "Went off me and went in. It was awesome. It's a dream come true to play in the NHL and then it's another obviously to score."

The reaction from Angello's teammates was priceless, particularly Lafferty - who leaped into his arms. 

As they celebrated, Patric Hornqvist left the bench to go retrieve the puck for Angello to keep. He then congratulated him on the bench while Angello was shown on the video board as the crowd cheered in recognition.

"The biggest (thing) was Angello jumping in," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "He finds out pretty late on short notice. He does a great job of being ready and chips in with a goal. He scores his first NHL goal and getting that opportunity is great."

Angello, who was drafted in the fifth round (145th overall) by the Penguins in 2014, earned his first career call-up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Jan. 30. At the time, Angello had a team-leading 16 goals and 25 points (tied) in his second full season with the team.

He made his NHL debut on Jan. 31 versus Philadelphia, the first of four straight appearances for the rookie. Angello was then a healthy scratch for the last three games and was about to sit out for a fourth when he got the call. He made the most of his opportunity tonight and wants to keep doing the same moving forward.

"One of the things my dad taught me growing up was the harder you work, the luckier you get," Angello said. "I've been working really hard to get in the lineup and when you get that unknown bounce where you get in the lineup and then get a nice bounce off your stick for it to go in, it's great. I'm just going to keep my head down and keep working hard."

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