Fleury rebounds, leads Pens to shutout
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.”
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
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 rally late but lose to Panthers, 4-3, in shootout
- Steelers film session: Playoff off coverage holds off Chiefs
- Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium schedules six-week closure
- Dixon says starters playing too much for Pitt basketball team
- McKeesport graduate Brown has found his role for Boston College
- Pitt recruit Whitehead remains committed
- Pirates win bidding for Korean infielder
- Changes abound at Uncle Charley’s Sausage, but taste isn’t one of them
- Penn State strolls to 69-49 victory over Dartmouth
- Steelers linebackers are getting to quarterback with more regularity
- High school roundup: Mt. Lebanon edges Bethel Park girls in overtime