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Fleury rebounds, leads Pens to shutout

AP - Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (center) celebrates with teammates Andrew Ebbett (25) and Matt Niskanen (2) against the Lightning on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (center) celebrates with teammates Andrew Ebbett (25) and Matt Niskanen (2) against the Lightning on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
AP - Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a save on a shot by the Lightning during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a save on a shot by the Lightning during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
AP - Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) dives but can't make the save on a goal by Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. The Penguins' Pascal Dupuis (9) looks for a rebound after getting past Lightning's Andrej Sustr (62).
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) dives but can't make the save on a goal by Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. The Penguins' Pascal Dupuis (9) looks for a rebound after getting past Lightning's Andrej Sustr (62).
NHLI via Getty Images - The Penguins Jussi Jokinen congratulates goalie Marc-Andre Fleury after his shutout of the Lightning on November 29, 2013 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>NHLI via Getty Images</em></div>The Penguins Jussi Jokinen congratulates goalie Marc-Andre Fleury after his shutout of the Lightning on November 29, 2013 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum  in Tampa, Fla.
USA Today Sports - Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) scores Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) scores Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
USA Today Sports - Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates with the puck as Lightning defenseman Matt Carle (25) defends during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates with the puck as Lightning defenseman Matt Carle (25) defends during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
USA Today Sports - Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) makes a save against the Penguins during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) makes a save against the Penguins during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
USA Today Sports - Penguins right wing Chris Conner (23) attempts to shoots as he falls down to the ice as Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) defends during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins right wing Chris Conner (23) attempts to shoots as he falls down to the ice as Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) defends during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
USA Today Sports - Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) skates between Penguins defenseman Simon Despres (47) and Matt Niskanen (2) during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) skates between Penguins defenseman Simon Despres (47) and Matt Niskanen (2)  during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
USA Today Sports - Lightning right wing Teddy Purcell (16) skates past Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Lightning right wing Teddy Purcell (16) skates past Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
AP - Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) battles with Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) for the puck during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) battles with Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) for the puck during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
AP - Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) and Lightning center Dana Tyrell (42) battle for a loose puck during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) and Lightning center Dana Tyrell (42) battle for a loose puck during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
AP - Penguins center Brandon Sutter (16) skates past Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (56) during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Penguins center Brandon Sutter (16) skates past Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (56) during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
AP - Penguins center Evgeni Malkin battles with Lightning center Nate Thompson (44) and defenseman Eric Brewer (2) for the puck along the boards during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Penguins center Evgeni Malkin battles with Lightning center Nate Thompson (44) and defenseman Eric Brewer (2) for the puck along the boards during the second period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
AP - Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates between Lightning defensemen Matt Carle (25) and Sami Salo (6) during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates between Lightning defensemen Matt Carle (25) and Sami Salo (6) during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
AP - Penguins left winger Chris Kunitz (14) celebrates his goal against the Lightning with teammates, including Kris Letang (58) and Pascal Dupuis (9), during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Penguins left winger Chris Kunitz (14) celebrates his goal against the Lightning with teammates, including Kris Letang (58) and Pascal Dupuis (9), during the first period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
AP - Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) deflects the puck off Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) during the third period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) deflects the puck off Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) during the third period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
USA Today Sports - Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) defends the puck from Penguins center Andrew Ebbett (25) during the third period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) defends the puck from Penguins center Andrew Ebbett (25) during the third period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
USA Today Sports - Penguins center Brandon Sutter (16) is congratulated by teammates after he scored a goal against the Lightning during the third period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Penguins center Brandon Sutter (16) is congratulated by teammates after he scored a goal against the Lightning during the third period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
USA Today Sports - Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) reacts after the Penguins scored a goal during the third period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>USA Today Sports</em></div>Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) reacts after the Penguins scored a goal during the third period Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.

Penguins/NHL Videos

Shutout Fleury

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury leads the NHL in shutouts this season:

Last 23 games: 3 shutouts

Previous 86 games: 3 shutouts

Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, 6:39 p.m.
 

TAMPA, Fla. — Marc-Andre Fleury jogged past reporters a couple of hours before the opening faceoff Friday, dishing high-fives and wearing a wide smile.

Nothing is bothering him these days. Being pulled from games never has.

Two days after being benched during a game for the first time this season, Fleury rebounded with a strong performance in a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, stopping all 21 shots he faced.

He is 19-5-2 in the past 26 games he has played after getting pulled.

“I didn't know that my record was that good in those games,” Fleury said, still smiling following the game. “That's good, no?”

The shutout gives Fleury 26 for his career. He leads the NHL with three shutouts.

Left wing Chris Kunitz scored twice, center Brandon Sutter added a fluke goal from behind Tampa Bay's net, and center Sidney Crosby recorded three assists, pushing him past 700 career points.

While the Penguins were satisfied with their performance, especially from a defensive standpoint, they were quick to credit their goaltender.

“We played a heck of a lot better in front of him,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “But I thought Marc was extremely good. Real strong. There wasn't a ton of action, but he had to make three really quality saves. He was very good in that regard. It was a bounce-back for the team and for him.”

The Penguins were displeased with their first two periods against Toronto on Wednesday. However, they did not permit a shot on goal during the third period or overtime of the 6-5 victory and adopted a similar defensive approach against the Lightning.

“We'd be hard-pressed to win games if we play like that,” Crosby said, referring to the first two periods against Toronto. “But Flower still had to make some big saves.”

Two saves in the second period stood out.

With the Penguins ahead 1-0, Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov snuck through the defense and found himself on a breakaway. Fleury coolly made the save.

Then at the end of the second period, the Lightning earned a golden scoring opportunity on the power play when right wing Richard Panik was alone in front of Fleury.

The goaltender stood his ground and made the save.

“We definitely did play better defensively and limited the turnovers,” Sutter said. “But Flower was awesome. That save at the end of the second period, that was the big one. That was a huge save.”

The Penguins controlled play in the final 20 minutes. Sutter added a goal, and Kunitz put the game away with an empty-netter.

Fleury said he felt sharp from the game's early moments.

“I saw some shots early, which is always a good thing,” he said. “Yeah, I felt pretty good. I felt good the whole game, actually.”

Many of the Penguins took responsibility for Fleury being pulled against Toronto. Seeing their starter bounce back made Friday's win sweeter.

“Last game,” Crosby said, “we didn't help him. I think we're all able to forgive (Fleury's shaky outing against Toronto). He turned the page. He was our best player tonight.”

He often is after an off night.

On a day that started with Fleury posing for a picture with Les Binkley, the first goalie in Penguins history, he continued to pile up team records. He now has 263 career victories.

“We all know he wanted to come out and have a big game after the last one,” Sutter said. “You can't say enough about the way he played.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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