Penguins notebook: Fleury feeling sharp entering tough stretch
ANAHEIM, Calif. — The feel-good victory Friday in Anaheim saw many Penguins play a key role.
Without goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's performance, however, the Penguins never would have had an opportunity for a comeback victory.
While the Penguins were being dominated in the game's first half, Fleury put on a show.
“He's been great all season,” right wing Craig Adams said. “And he certainly was tonight.”
Fleury said he is feeling particularly sharp. He endured one tough outing — the team's 6-5 shootout loss to Montreal on Feb. 27 — after the Olympic break. That performance was understandable because he hadn't played in 20 days.
Since then, he lost an outdoor game in Chicago before responding with strong performances in Nashville and Anaheim.
“Even Chicago wasn't too bad for me,” Fleury said. “It was in a blizzard.”
He stopped 47 of 50 shots his past two outings.
Fleury knows big tests are coming with back-to-back games against the Capitals and Flyers this week. He sounds ready.
“It's good to be back playing again, and I think I'm ready to go,” he said.
Although neither appears to be a long-term injury, the Penguins did not escape the West Coast unscathed.
Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (upper-body) was injured Thursday in San Jose and did not play against the Ducks. Right wing Brian Gibbons, initially thought to be a healthy scratch in Anaheim, did not play against the Ducks because of what coach Dan Bylsma referred to as a lower-body injury.
Gibbons had been seeing a significant amount of time on the top line with center Sidney Crosby and left wing Chris Kunitz.
With Gibbons out of the lineup, newly acquired right wing Lee Stempniak played on the top line.
It remains unknown if Bortuzzo or Gibbons will be available against Washington on Monday. Bylsma said each player is “day-to-day.”
Defenseman Deryk Engelland, a healthy scratch in San Jose, replaced Bortuzzo against the Ducks and promptly scored a goal on his team's first shot.
Engelland scoring a goal, once a shock, doesn't seem surprising. He has six goals this season, three while playing on the fourth line and three others from his natural position on the blue line.
Bylsma was asked if Engelland's newfound goal-scoring touch is making it difficult to keep him off the fourth line.
“Maybe it doesn't matter where I play him,” Bylsma said with a smile. “He was good on defense for us. He played a real strong game.”
Changing things up
Bylsma removed Jussi Jokinen from the second line against the Ducks, replacing him with left wing Taylor Pyatt.
The move worked.
Bylsma called the second line his team's best in the third period in Anaheim and noted that Pyatt's “big body” made a difference playing with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. Jokinen, meanwhile, seemed to click with center Brandon Sutter. They played together in Carolina three years ago.
“I don't think keeping anything together after the first 25 or 30 minutes was in order,” Bylsma said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Bennett a healthy scratch
- Stat dropoff, road struggles have Penguins seeking consistency
- Starkey: What are Penguins, Pirates up to?
- Penguins finally break through, defeat Devils at Prudential Center
- Penguins’ Ehrhoff being tested for concussion
- Lapierre eager to make mark with Penguins
- Penguins get physical, trade Goc for Blues’ Lapierre
- No cross-checking here: Penguins misspell ‘Sidney’
- Rossi: Crosby’s debt to NHL paid in full
- For Penguins coach Johnston, it’s a matter of substance over style
- Penguins notebook: Crosby understands NHL’s reasoning for ban