The Pittsburgh Penguins are still winning, despite missing key players like Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Pascal Dupuis.
Pittsburgh went into the third period of tonight’s contest against the Carolina Hurricanes with a one-goal deficit. However, they got help from some unlikely sources when Chris Conner and Deryk Engelland each found the back of the net for the Penguins.
Carolina’s Drayson Bowman fired back with just 2:29 minutes remaining in the third period to tie the game, but James Neal handed them a 4-3 overtime victory:
That brought a milestone night for Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a pleasant conclusion. He became the first netminder to play in 500 games with the Penguins tonight and earned his 271 win in the process. At the age of 29, he became just the 63rd netminder to ever reach the 500-contest mark.
Pittsburgh has now won 13 of its last 15 matches to give them a staggering 13-point lead in the Metropolitan Division.
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Following last night’s 5-1 defeat in Pittsburgh, the Sharks reflected on the game that was with a rather unique focus — how poorly Marc-Andre Fleury played in stopping 44 of 45 shots faced.
Here be the comments, from CSN Bay Area:
The Sharks managed to throw 45 pucks in Fleury’s direction, but still didn’t have many prime scoring chances. Although he made 44 saves, the Sharks were decidedly unimpressed by the goaltender’s performance.
“Stats aside, I don’t think Fleury was that good tonight,” [Logan] Couture said. “He gave up a lot of rebounds and a lot of shots he looked shaky on. We weren’t able to score on second chances.”
[Joe] Pavelski said: “He was fighting it all night. It felt like we could have had five. Pucks were bouncing and laying between his legs. There were a couple second opportunities, that there were times you didn’t know how it didn’t go in.”
Three things to note:
1) This isn’t the first time the Sharks have done some talking following a loss. During the ’11-12 campaign, Joe Thornton called the Rangers “probably the softest team we played against” following a 5-2 loss at MSG. That prompted then-Rangers coach John Tortorella to utter his now-famous “Joe hasn’t won a g-damn thing in this league” line.
2) The Sharks said this on a night when their own goalie, Antti Niemi, was hooked after allowing four goals on 27 shots.
3) Here’s a sequence of Fleury’s saves on Couture from the third period. You be the judge on how shaky he looked:
Also, Pavelski recorded just one shot on goal.
Wednesday night was one to forget for Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins goalie got the hook just 13 seconds into the second period after Toronto burned him for three goals on 11 shots, paving the way for little-used backup Jeff Zatkoff to enter the contest.
Toronto didn’t let up upon Zatkoff’s entrance, though. Phil Kessel sniped his 13th goal of the year on the first shot the former Miami of Ohio standout faced to give the Leafs a 4-1 lead.
The real story, though, was Toronto’s ability to chase Fleury despite being out-shot at the time of his departure. James van Riemsdyk started it off with a goal just 5:09 into the contest — negating Chris Conner’s opening tally — and, six minutes later, it was Nazem Kadri making it 2-1 with his seventh goal of the year.
At the start of the second frame, JVR was at it again, taking advantage of a Fleury stickhandling gaffe to score his 11th of the season. Fleury smashed his stick twice in frustration, as this marked the first time all season he’s been yanked from a start.