Tomas Plekanec ;  Marc-Andre Fleury

Save of the night: Marc-Andre Fleury stones Scott Gomez

Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

While Marc-Andre Fleury was busy beating the Canadiens last night and doing a bit of showing off after the fact, he had to put in a bit of work to make it all pan out in the end of course. These are the tasks of being a goalie in the NHL after all. Fleury was able to keep the Habs off the board enough while the Penguins were busy filling the net with four power play goals on the way to a 5-2 win.

One such stop Fleury had to make came off the stick of Scott Gomez. With the score knotted at 2-2 in the second period, Gomez had a glorious opportunity off a cross-ice pass that Fleury tracked swiftly from post to post to make the stop. Perhaps Fleury can do all the posing he wants to as long as he’s making stops like this to win games.

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Video: Marc-Andre Fleury poses down after Pens beat Montreal 5-2

Marc-Andre Fleury; Lars Eller
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There’s a saying that says, “imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.” If that’s true, then Montreal’s Carey Price should feel quite flattered tonight.

Last week, Price happily struck a pose after the Habs beat the Penguins in a shootout 2-1 in Montreal. The flamboyant act caught the eye of the Penguins for sure but they skated off with the loss to chew on what went down. Tonight, the Penguins were able to get some payback of their own, scoring four power play goals en route to a 5-2 win at Bell Centre.

This time around, however, the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury would not turn the other cheek. As the game came to an end, Fleury skated out from his crease and struck a pose of his own to celebrate. Afterward, Fleury’s explanation was fantastic.

“I just thought that’s how you celebrate a win in Montreal,” Fleury quipped. “It was just for a laugh.”

Laugh we shall, Marc-Andre. The only lesson learned out of this for Carey Price might be a lesson in humility. As for what we think, we love it. If the players can dish it out and take it in stride, we’re all the better for it. Being entertained is pretty awesome.

Have a look for yourself at the two poses. It’s a goalie pose-down, everyone!

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Crosby, Malkin, Toews, Fleury, Letang and Keith make the top six in All-Star voting

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Week after week, we followed the fan voting for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game. In case you haven’t been keeping up, fans were able to pick their equivalent to a First NHL All-Star team with three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie. The league just announced the roster, which is comprised solely of Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks players. Here is the top six.

Forwards: Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Evgeni Malkin.

Defensemen: Kris Letang and Duncan Keith.

Goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury.

(In case you’re wondering, my ballot last night looked like this:

Forwards: Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Brad Richards.

Defensemen: Dustin Byfuglien and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Goalie: Tim Thomas.)

Here are some details regarding the voting results.

At the close of the 2011 NHL All-Star Fan Balloting presented by XM at 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, more than 14.3 million total votes were registered.  Crosby was the top-voted player with 635,509 total votes and first forward named to the 2011 All-Star Team; Chicago’s Toews tallied 407,676 total votes and Crosby’s Pittsburgh teammate Malkin tallied 376,887 to round out the top three forwards.  Pittsburgh’s Letang was the top-voted defenseman with 477,960 total votes; he will be joined by fellow defenseman Duncan Keith of Chicago who received 382,162 votes.  Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury is the first goaltender named to the 2011 All-Star team with a total of 462,305 votes.

On January 11, the league will announce the remaining 36 players that will make up the NHL All-Star teams. After that, the team captains will be unveiled as well (along with alternate captains). Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville will be one of the coaches by default because he won the Stanley Cup in the 2010 playoffs. There will also be Western and Eastern Conference “co-coaches,” which will be determined by standings positions.

As you may remember, the two team captains will choose players based on a “fantasy draft” that might remind some people of their gym class days in which two kids chose teams. (Something tells me the last person chosen won’t resemble Martin Starr from Freaks & Geeks, though.) Here are some details regarding the fantasy draft process.

A coin toss will decide first pick with the team captains, joined by their two alternate captains, alternately drafting the 36 remaining All-Stars through 18 rounds.  Each team will consist of 3 goalies, 6 defensemen and 12 forwards total.  For sake of fairness in the draft, the captain and alternate captains for each team will consist of two forwards and one defenseman.  Also, to ensure that the final draft picks are true selections and not simply predetermined due to position requirements, each team’s three goalies must be picked by the end of Round 10 and each team’s six defensemen must be picked by the conclusion of Round 15.

All-Star weekend will take place on Saturday, January 29th and Sunday, January 30th. To read more about the beloved skills competition and other festivities, click here. We’ll keep you informed as the full roster(s) are released and so on.

Marc-Andre Fleury wins his third Save of the Week (December 20-26)

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There is still time to vote for the best goal of December 20-26th. Click here to cast your vote.

Marc-Andre Fleury sure knows how to dominate polls as of late.

In case you haven’t heard, Fleury took a small lead over Carey Price in the fan voting for the All-Star Game’s starting six with one week left for people to cast their ballots.

That’s probably the most important popularity contest to Fleury, but he’s also been a fan favorite in our save of the week polls. Up to this point he won the poll for December 6-12th as well as November 22-28th and now he can add a third award to his imaginary awards mantle.

It’s been an odd tradition that many goalies have earned two save of the week nominees and Fleury accomplished that as well from December 20-26th. His first save earned the win for him this week, but as you can see from the poll results, it was pretty close between his two replays.

(click to enlarge)

Now, since the two choices were so close and Fleury produced both of the top nominees, I thought I’d share both videos.

First, here is the (narrow) award winner, from the Penguins’ game against the Capitals.

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And for comparison’s (and entertainment’s) sake, here is Fleury’s set of saves against Nick Foligno of the Ottawa Senators.

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All-Star Voting update: Marc-Andre Fleury gains slight lead over Carey Price

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Since November 15th, hockey fans have had their chance to vote for starters for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina. We’ll give you the occasional voting update, as fans have until January 3, 2011 to select six players (three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie) who will act as something of a fans’ First All-NHL Team.

Last week, we mentioned the fact that people who hated the Pittsburgh Penguins wouldn’t be very happy with the results. That was because Evgeni Malkin joined Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang in the six-player fan voting group. Well, things look even worse for Pens-haters this week, as Marc-Andre Fleury joined that top six.

(Click here for the results, via NHL.com.)

Let’s start with the voting results for forwards, with the top three highlighted. The group is the same as last week, with Jonathan Toews sandwiched between Crosby and Malkin.

As I said last week, it’s surprising not to see Alex Ovechkin ranked higher and Steven Stamkos probably deserves more votes.

Next, here are the top five defensemen, with the two would-be starters highlighted.

So Letang and Keith remain in the top two, while Dustin Byfuglien remains far too low at number nine.

Finally, here are the top six goalies, as Jimmy Howard earned almost as many votes as the fifth place candidate. The would-be starter is highlighted.

It looks like it’s going to be a tight race between Fleury and Price going forward.

So, if the All-Star Voting ended today the starting six would be:

Forwards: Crosby, Toews and Malkin.

Defensemen: Letang and Duncan Keith.

Goalie: Fleury.

Yup, that means that four out of the top six would be Penguins. Even the most blindly devoted Pens fan should admit that is too much, as Tim Thomas probably deserves more goalie votes while Malkin hasn’t had an All-Star caliber season.

Still, this is an event made to entertain fans (and sponsors), and they are speaking in favor of Pittsburgh right now. Will that remain until January 3rd? We’ll just have to wait and see.