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Emotions high for Zatkoff in Game 1 of Cup Final

by Jeff Zatkoff / Pittsburgh Penguins

This article originally appeared on 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 following the Penguins' 3-2 win in Game 1 on Monday:

PITTSBURGH -- We all had that buildup today, especially after yesterday, when it was a little bit of a circus around the rink with Media Day. I know a lot of us have never seen that before, going through all the media, but we were back to normal on a game day.

That said, it's been all about waiting to play, so a lot of guys were relieved that the games are going to start and all the hype and noise would be behind us. I know I was ready to start.

It's a different feeling when you're not playing though. When you're playing, you have some control over the game. But sitting up in the press box, you have no control.

I've never been more nervous for hockey games than I have watching these games from up top. Now I know why writers are so hard on us, because the game looks so easy up there.

I'm the world's best player sitting up there.

For the game I thought we came out hard. We played how we wanted to play. We used our speed. They pushed back. In the third Kris Letang makes a great play. I'm not sure why Tanger is leading the forecheck, but that's what Tanger does and he puts it right on Nick Bonino's stick.

The guys on that line, Bonino, Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin, they've just been finding ways to score clutch goals for us. Bonino did it again tonight. And as soon as we scored I did a sprint down the press box lane and I was like, 'Let's go, I got to get down there.'

We thought we'd make it a little interesting and take a penalty, but it was a huge kill.

It's nice to get the first one out of the way. Obviously it's a big bonus that we won, but just getting settled into the series is good. It feels more like a playoff series now that all the buildup is gone.

It was emotional for me to sit up there in the press box and watch. It's so hard sometimes.

I love being around the guys but I'm up there by myself. When we score I don't know who to go to in the press box. I'm not on the bench to celebrate. And when we get scored on I'm just mad, like I would be on the ice.

It's a different experience. I've never been in this situation when I've been up there in the press box like that. The most difficult thing for me is not being in the locker room during the games. But I do have a chance to get here early, warm up with everyone and try to keep the mood light, joke around before the game starts.

Then after the game, being in here in the dressing room, it's just great to celebrate with the guys. Every game is so critical and I think the emotions are the best part of these series. To be able to experience it, be a part of it, words can't really explain it. I'm really fortunate.

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