No matter what Penguins third-string goaltender Louis Domingue does the rest of his career, he will be a folk hero in Pittsburgh for the rest of his life thanks to his stellar relief performance in beating the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their NHL Eastern Conference first-round playoff series Tuesday. All signs point to Domingue starting Game 2 tonight back at Madison Square Garden with Casey DeSmith not 100 percent. The Rangers opened at -140 but are up to -160 at Caesars Sportsbook.
The 30-year-old Domingue has been in the NHL since 2014 but was only a full-time starter early in his career with Arizona. In the 2020-21 season, he got into just one NHL game with the Calgary Flames and this regular season, Domingue played twice for the Penguins and was 1-1-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .952 SV.
With No. 1 Pens goaltender Tristan Jarry still out injured, DeSmith got his first-ever playoff start in Game 1 at Madison Square Garden and played very well before leaving about midway through the second overtime with an undisclosed injury. Domingue stopped all 17 shots in relief as Pittsburgh won 4-3 in triple overtime. He became the first goaltender in NHL history to enter a playoff game in the second overtime period or later.
Domingue didn't think he'd be playing, so between the first and second overtimes he had a big meal of: "Some spicy pork and broccoli. Not the best."
"That's not an easy task when you're sitting on the bench for that long," Coach Mike Sullivan said. "He was on the bench for a long time. He made a couple of key saves for us early on right away. I thought he did a terrific job under real tough circumstances."
It is presumed that Domingue will make his first playoff start tonight because the Pens have called up Alex D'Orio from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to presumably serve as the backup.
Pittsburgh likely will be without winger Rickard Rakell as well. The trade acquisition from Anaheim left Game 1 following a big hit from Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren and didn't practice Wednesday. Rakell had 20 goals and 21 assists overall this season and 13 points in 19 games with the Pens. Kasperi Kapanen could move into a top-six role.
Lindgren also left Game 1 for the Rangers but is expected to play. He had 28:44 of ice time on Tuesday with three hits and five blocks. Lindgren had 15 points during the regular season.
On the updated series line, Pittsburgh is -160 and New York +140. The Pens are 23-8 in all-time best-of-seven series when taking a 1-0 lead and the Rangers 10-29 when trailing.
Free NHL pick: I leaned Rangers back when they were -140 but still like them -160
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