Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltender Tristan Jarry knew if he was going to have success during these Stanley Cup Playoffs, he needed to have a short memory and an ability to block out the noise. After an admittedly shaky performance in Game 1 against the New York Islanders, Jarry reflected, refreshed, remained calm, and quite frankly provided one of his best games of the season Tuesday night.
Game 2 started slow for the Penguins’ netminder as the Islanders were held to the outside for more than half of the first period. When you’re trying to bounce back from a bad game, normally, some early action is beneficial, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case at all. This shows you Jarry has the mental strength to stay focused and composed even though he wanted nothing more than to get in the game early. He had challenged himself to be better for Game 2 after one of his worst performances to open the postseason.
The Glove Side Was an Issue in Game 1
All four of the goals the Islanders scored in Game 1 came to the left side of Jarry. The red flags were flying during and after the game as many started questioning whether or not the stage had become too big for the goaltender to handle. Jarry admitted it wasn’t his finest effort but didn’t think it warranted such an overreaction. Some even started to compare his glove hand to ex-Penguin Matt Murray’s, who notoriously has trouble catching the puck. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are intense as can be, and when you play for the Penguins, who have such a rich history, it’s almost as if people come down even harder whenever they get a chance.
Jarry knew it was only one game, and you could tell with his comments in the media about how he was playing the puck as it lied and was just trying to put his best foot forward to get in the way of every puck possible. Seems like a very simple approach, doesn’t it? But it worked, and it has worked for him throughout this season. Some big mistakes teams and players can make is trying to be something they aren’t come playoff time. Jarry knows what kind of goaltender he is and the style of play he needs to play to be successful. His self-awareness is something that’s going to take him, and hopefully, the Penguins a long way these playoffs.
A Short Memory Goes a Long Way for Jarry’s Game
Two nights after one of his worst games of the season, Jarry stopped 37 shots and put on an unbelievable performance. He was able to get stronger as the game went on and came up with big save after big save, including standing on his head during the final minutes when the Penguins were down a man. Forward Bryan Rust had made a huge gaffe, throwing the puck out of the defensive zone, and was assessed a delay of game penalty. Jarry didn’t let it get in the way of the Game 2 victory, and rightfully so, received some huge praise from Rust after the game.
Leading into this Penguins’ season, management made a commitment to Jarry with a brand new contract extension and the title as ‘the guy” The crease was his to run with, and the 26-year-old showed throughout this season that he was capable of stealing games and providing some stability in net for the Pens. While it wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies, Jarry battled to get his game on track for the playoffs and showed some serious resilience to move on from a horrible opening act. Considering the limited playoff experience as a professional, he proved he has the skillset physically and the toughness mentally to be able to bounce back at the most opportune time.
Expect Much of the Same for Game 3
Let’s head back to April when the Penguins and New Jersey Devils played one of the craziest games of the season. The Penguins blew a huge lead and ended up barely hanging on 7-6. Jarry stopped 24 of 30 shots and recorded the win. While he almost crumbled completely that game and cost his team the win, what he did over the next five days was the most impressive part. Jarry stopped 60 of his next 61 shots faced, went on to win both games, including a 1-0 shutout to the Boston Bruins. It’s these types of experiences during the regular season that he has the ability to learn from and help provide him with the calmness needed to remain focused on the task at hand.
The Penguins head to Long Island for Game 3 on Thursday night. Jarry is as focused as ever to build off of the momentum from Game 2. Judging by his past, Penguins fans can expect another stellar performance from their number one netminder.