Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a save during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres in Pittsburgh, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Buffalo can’t solve Fleury in 3-0 loss to Penguins

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Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller did his part tonight by stopping 31 of 33 shots against the offensively gifted Pittsburgh Penguins, but his teammates couldn’t help him out. The Sabres fired 24 shots on goal against Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins’ netminder turned them all aside in a 3-0 win on Monday.

The Penguins outshot the Sabres 15-5 in the first period, but this game was still scoreless through 20 minutes. It wasn’t until the Penguins were given the opportunity to gang up on Miller for a sustained period of time that Chris Kunitz finally broke the tie.

Although Deryk Engelland provided the Penguins with some extra breathing room and Tanner Glass later sealed the deal with an empty-net goal, Kunitz’s marker proved to be enough for Fleury tonight. It was his fourth shutout of the season and Fleury is now just one victory away from becoming the first goalie to reach the 30-win milestone in 2013-14.

Buffalo is the second team in the league to lose 30 games in regulation and remains dead-last in the NHL with 35 points. Meanwhile the Penguins improved to 37-14-2 and have surpassed the 75-point mark before any other team in the Metropolitan Division reached 60.

Video: Milbury critiques breaking up the Budaj-Fleury fight

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Plenty of people were bummed out that officials kept a Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Peter Budaj fight from happening on Wednesday. Mike Milbury was one of them, as he believes that it was a “politically correct” decision made based on the controversies surrounding Ray Emery’s incident with Braden Holtby.

The video below captures what Milbury and Keith Jones had to say about a scene that was memorable, even if a fight didn’t happen:

Hold me back: Fleury, Budaj almost fight in Pens win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens was all about goalies … and not just Carey Price getting pulled. A scuffle late in the third nearly opened the door for fight between Marc-Andre Fleury and Peter Budaj.

Oddly enough, you may agree that a near-goalie fight (and all the histrionics involved) is actually almost as entertaining as the fisticuffs themselves:

During the second intermission of the Detroit Red Wings – Chicago Blackhawks Rivalry Night Match on NBCSN, Mike Milbury critiqued it as the “politically correct” move, especially in light of the Braden Holtby – Ray Emery fight.

Of course, one cannot discuss Penguins goalie fights (and one-sided ones) without calling back to Brent Johnson vs. Rick DiPietro:

While the thwarted fight upset many, chances are the Canadiens and especially the Penguins are probably pretty happy that they avoided an injury to a netminder.

Fleury wins in 500th game, Neal nets OT goal

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates his goal with teammates James Neal (18), Chris Kunitz (14), Olli Maatta (3), and Matt Niskanen (2) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, in Raleigh, N.C. Pittsburgh won 4-3 in overtime. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
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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.

Related:

GM Shero: Dupuis injury would hurt more after trade deadline

Sharks say Fleury was ‘shaky’ and ‘fighting it’ in 44-save victory

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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.