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Locker Room Reaction

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins skated to a 4-3 overtime, series-clinching win over the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of their second-round matchup on Tuesday night at CONSOL Energy Center and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, where they will have home-ice advantage over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Here's the reaction from the locker room.

On scoring the overtime, series-clinching game-winner: "I can’t put it into words right now. I’ve still got chills a little bit. Just coming off the ice and pounding everyone, it’s a lot of fun. That’s the best feeling in the game right there. To win a series and have your teammates around you in the corner, it’s pretty fun."

BONUS: "It was the worst feeling I think I’ve ever had in hockey when I whacked the puck out of play and then ‘Coler’ did it after, after ‘Kuni’ did it. That’s something you’ll never see. I thought the kill on the ice did a great job. We responded well when ‘Tanger’ got one late. We let in a couple goals, but I think our kill helped too, and the PP was good tonight too."

On if he had any butterflies heading in: “I don’t remember the last time I’ve been nervous about a hockey game. But you just go out there and play and hopefully things work out. Obviously that’s a big win for us, and we’re looking forward to the next series.”

On how far this team has come since the beginning of the season: “We got (Carl) Hagelin, he has huge speed. Phil is an important part for our team. We have a good team. We were a little bit slower at the beginning of the year, but now it’s better and better. Now, I think all four lines play pretty good. Sometimes it’s one line plays better, sometimes another one that plays better. It’s unbelievable to see all four lines play at the same time.”

On what it felt like during those three straight delay of game penalties: "Not good. You’re under control and it all goes (bad). Sorry for the words, but that’s what it is. After that, I get called for another penalty and I was just praying in the box that we killed that off and could go into overtime and get the win."

On what it was like in the locker room before overtime: "Right away, you just kind of clear your mind. The first five minutes I think everyone is pretty quiet. But I think once you start getting ready to go out there, everyone knew what the situation was and how desperate we needed to be. We felt like we were going to be pretty rested. We had guys in the box and other guys sitting on the bench. Their power play was out there for a big chunk and when you're coming from behind, you've got to play a lot of guys. Hopefully we were kind of the more rested team heading into overtime and we tried to use that to our advantage.

On what was said during that intermission: "It wasn’t a big speech. Sid said ‘Guys, we still got a game here. We’re still in a decent spot. Obviously we want to finish it out, everyone knows that, but we can’t stop playing, we can’t just fold this game. We’re still in a great spot. One more goal and this game is over. What’s the past is the past. You can’t do anything about it now. Got to play. Got to be moving forward and continue to play hard.’ Sully came in and said pretty much the same thing."

On how a team bounces back emotionally from that third period: "What I’ve loved about this group is their resilience. When we got to the overtime, we just talked to them inbetween periods about taking a deep breath. Can’t change what just happened. We’ve got to let it go and we just got to play. These guys, I think to their credit, have done an amazing job of not allowing any sort of ebbs and flows of the game. It might have been challenged the most all year tonight in that third period. I know our leadership in our room was strong and we just went out in the overtime and started to play again. We really liked our 5-on-5 game, we thought we really carried the play territorially. We were generating scoring chances. I think when we can get all the four lines involved, it allows us to keep our speed because I think our group is fresh and they had the energy to play with that tempo. We tried to do that as a coaching staff as much as we could tonight. But I can’t say enough about our players and their resilience to bounce back after a very challenging third period."

On Pittsburgh's penalty kill: I think that they have an incredible power play, and we needed to do our best to stay out of the box. When they did get chances they scored two goals, but we needed to get a stop late in the game and we were able to to get us a chance in overtime.”

On what the night was like: "It was emotional. It was a roller coaster that game. It was fun. I mean, that’s why you play, for those type of games. The excitement of being down 5-on-3, and them scoring goals, and us just rallying and scoring that OT. I think it’s something we can build on moving forward.”

On watching that goal go in at the other end: "I can't really remember it, to be honest. I just tried to sprint down the ice as fast as I could and I just remember 'Horny' coming out and basically tackling me at center ice. It was an unbelievable feeling. You just want to get to that pile as fast as you can."

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