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Despite nerves, Penguins’ Dominik Simon pleased with win in his playoff debut

April 20, 2018 GMT

Dominik Simon didn’t just make his NHL playoff debut Wednesday. He made his NHL playoff debut as a member of the top line on the defending Stanley Cup champions, skating with a future Hall of Famer.

“I was definitely a little nervous before the game,” Simon conceded after Penguins practice Thursday. “But once you get to just playing the game, you lose the stress. So you just enjoy it.”

It was much easier to enjoy a 5-0 victory in Philadelphia that gave the Penguins a 3-1 series lead in their first-round series against the Flyers.

In the lineup because of an upper-body injury to Patric Hornqvist, Simon was given Hornqvist’s coveted spot as a wing to Sidney Crosby.

“It feels great to have the trust from the coach that he puts you there, and he trusts that you will do well,” Simon said. “So that definitely helps. It’s a big thing for a player.”

Simon responded with an assist, plus-2 rating, a shot on goal, a hit and a blocked shot in 12 minutes, 36 seconds of time. Though his possession numbers weren’t great (the Penguins took 36.36 percent of the even-strength shot attempts when Simon was on the ice), Simon figures to get the call again in Game 5 because Hornqvist is not ready to return.

Wednesday was Simon’s first game action since March 25.

″(The playoffs) are different for sure (than the regular season),” Simon said. “It’s more emotional, everybody is finishing checks, the pace is quick. So it is definitely like the hardest regular-season games. The playoffs are what everybody enjoys the most, so everybody is giving their best. And it’s fun.”

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.