Pittsburgh Penguins 'get a kick' out of angry Phil Kessel

PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 15: Phil Kessel #81 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with Chris Kunitz #14 after scoring a goal against Craig Anderson #41 of the Ottawa Senators during the third period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 15, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t mind the fact that Phil Kessel got mad at points in Monday’s Eastern Conference Final Game 2 win against the Ottawa Senators. In fact they enjoyed it.

“I love that about the guy. Yeah, he’s always like that. I think our players get a kick out of him, quite honestly,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said after Kessel scored the game-winner in the 1-0 victory that evened the series at 1-1. “He’s a guy that, he’s a vocal guy. He’s an emotional guy, and he’s all in. He wants to win. So when he comes back to the bench, if he thinks he wanted a puck or he was open, he lets a player know. Hey, give it to him. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”

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Television cameras often caught Kessel around his bench yelling at coaches and teammates. There was even a point where Kessel and forward Evgeni Malkin reportedly got annoyed with one another. 

“You know obviously it’s a tight game and there is a lot of emotion. It’s the third-round and we want to win,” Kessel said to Sportsnet after the game when asked about his outbursts.

Kessel’s teammates liked his passion and believed this helped fuel him toward putting the puck in the net Monday.

“When Phil is emotional in the game, he’s into it, and he’s a threat out there,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. “Again, tonight he came up big for us.”

Sullivan said he likes a bench that’s engaged and emotional and was pleased Kessel helped create such an atmosphere.

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“When he comes back to the bench and he wants a pass and doesn’t get it, he lets a guy know,” Sullivan said. “I have no problem with that. I don’t think our team has any problem with that. I think that’s how we make progress. That’s how we come together as a team. I think it brings energy to our bench and for me that’s a good thing. It tells me that we have a bunch of guys that are invested and want to win.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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