Crosby: Zucker ‘Looked Comfortable’ in Pens Win

Zucker nets his first two goals as Penguins drop Canadiens

Josh Rowntree
February 14, 2020 - 10:32 pm
Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Jason Zucker (16) reacts with center Sidney Crosby (87) after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Pittsburgh won 4...

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

On Valentines Day, Jason Zucker might just have fallen in love with his new teammates. 

The Penguins’ newest winger scored two goals in the final two minutes of the second period, as the Pittsburgh topped Montreal, 4-1 in Zucker's second game since being acquired from Minnesota four days ago.

“To me, it was just about the win,” said Zucker. “That was great. It was good to get that winning feeling back and to do it with these guys. That was a fun night.”

Zucker’s first came, thanks in part, to a burst of speed by puck-carrier Sidney Crosby, who slid a pass across to Zucker after beating two Montreal players. Zucker’s shot was nearly spectacularly robbed from going in by the glove of Canadiens goalie Carey Price, but the rubber worked its way free to extend Pittsburgh’s lead to 2-0. 

“That pass was incredible,” Zucker said. “I’m just glad I touched it.”

“I’m just going to get open, that’s about it,” he said of playing with Crosby. “I’m going to skate and push some (defenseman back). On that play, I’m trying to get open, use my speed, so that the option’s there.”

Montreal had a quick answer to Zucker’s goal, as Brendan Gallagher netted one just over a minute later. 

But Zucker was the beneficiary of another tremendous pass — this one from defenseman Marcus Pettersson — hit the back of thee net only 36 seconds after Gallagher, giving the Penguins a 3-1 lead after two periods. 

After failing to record a point in the Penguins’ overtime loss to Tampa Bay three days ago, Zucker admitted that getting into the flow of the game, with linemates Sidney Crosby and Dominik Simon, is something he felt would develop. 

Apparently it did. Quickly. 

“It was one more day with these guys, one more day preparing for a game,” Zucker said. “It was great having that practice (on Thursday). I’m trying to learn the system a little bit more and learn these guys, the way they play hockey. It’ll be a learning curve still, but I’m excited about that game tonight.”

His teammates were understanding of things not clicking right away. But they, to a man, liked what they saw Friday night. 

“He just looked comfortable out there,” Crosby said. “It’s hard, there’s so many new things thrown at you. You probably have a lot of things going through your mind in that situation. Today probably felt like more of a regular game day for him. It’s the same game, you just have to go out there and feel that.

“He got that first one under his belt. But tonight he was just flying. He created a lot and created a couple of big goals for us.”

Hear more from Zucker, Crosby and Penguins’ coach Mike Sullivan’s postgame comments below.