Dustin Jeffrey has been waiting for his opportunity. Sometimes impatiently.
“I’m not happy to play a game every five,” he said. “Obviously, you want to play every night.”
Jeffrey has appeared in one of the Penguins’ last 10 games, but he finally got the opportunity he’s been waiting for against the Florida Panthers Friday night.
|Dustin Jeffrey (Getty Images) |
“It’s an opportunity (Friday),” Jeffrey said. “If I have a good game maybe I can stay in the lineup.”
Jeffrey, 24, seized that opportunity by scoring the Penguins’ third goal to add some breathing room to a tightly played contest that resulted in a 3-1 victory at CONSOL Energy Center.
“As the game went on I got more comfortable and we were able to contribute on the scoresheet, too,” Jeffrey said.
With less the five minutes to play in the third period and the Penguins clinging to a 2-1 lead, Jeffrey connected for his first goal of the season – and he picked a good time to convert it.
Matt Cooke had the puck on his stick and a crowd around him at the side of the net. Jeffrey slipped into some open ice on the opposite side. Cooke threw a hard cross-ice pass and Jeffrey banged it in for the score.
“(Tyler Kennedy) made a good play to keep it in,” Jeffrey said. “Cooke pulled it around a guy. I just went to the net. I didn’t know if he was going to shoot or pass. I was just trying to get there and hoping for a rebound. He ended up putting it right on my stick.”
Jeffrey finished the game with one goal, a plus-1 rating, two shots and 9:23 minutes of ice time. And he’s hoping this is only the beginning.
“I’m pleased with the way I’ve played (this season),” Jeffrey said. “Hopefully, going forward from tonight I’ll get another opportunity and build from there if it presents itself.”