Fleury earns fourth career playoff shutout
Goaltender Marc Andre Fleury and star center Evgeni Malkin were called upon to step up their games and both players delivered Tuesday night.
Malkin ended a four game scoring drought, scoring a power-play goal 1:16 into the third period to break open a 0-0 tie and Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens to take a 2-1 series lead.
Pascal Dupuis added an empty net goal with 15 seconds remaining in the game to seal a 2-0 win for Pittsburgh.
As Pittsburgh regained control of the series, the story of the game was the performances of Fleury and Malkin. Fleury wasn’t tested often but when he was, he came up big.
In the third period Fleury was at his best, sliding across to make a left pad stop on Michael Cammalleri’s shot from the right side with 7:33 remaining.
Pittsburgh played stifling defense in the second and third period but a Jordan Leopold penalty at the 14:29 mark in the third opened the door for Montreal to force over-time.
Fleury made another spectacular save late in the third, sliding across and robbing Tomas Plekanec on a redirection shot off of Cammalleri’s centering feed during the Canadiens power play opportunity. The win was Fleury’s first playoff shutout since a 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on May 18, 2008 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Pittsburgh weathered the storm in the first period when Montreal came out and dictated the play. Pittsburgh was limited to just three shots in the first as the Canadiens clogged the neutral zone and pushed the play offensively.
Pittsburgh though made the needed adjustments and took over in the second period out-shooting Montreal 13-3 in the period.
A late surge by Pittsburgh set up a power play to open the third when Canadiens defenseman Hal Gill was called for holding Sidney Crosby with 12 seconds remaining in the second period.
Malkin took Sergei Gonchar’s pass and fired a one-timer from the right side past Jaroslav Halak to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. Alex Goligoski also assisted on the goal.
Gonchar showed great patience making a perfect feed to Malkin for the goal. Gonchar recorded his 7th assist of the post-season on the goal and has 8 points in nine playoff games
Pittsburgh went 1-for-4 on the power play and have scored 5 power play goals in the series.
The goal not only gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead, but it also sparked Evgeni Malkin. Malkin suddenly had a jump in his step and had a strong third period. Malkin had a game high 7 shots on goal and was a difference maker in the third.
7 of Malkin’s 10 points have come on the power play this post-season.
Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 25-18 in the game and the Canadiens were shutout at home for the first time in the playoffs since April 7, 1983. Montreal has lost seven of their last eight home playoff games, including three of four home playoff games this post-season.
Center Mark Letestu a recent callup from Wilkes Barre/Scranton made his playoff debut tonight as winger Bill Guerin sat out tonight’s game due to back spasms.
Letestu had 12:42 of ice time and was 4-for-10 in the face-off circle. Letestu centered Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy on the third line for much of the game.
Due to the absence of Bill Guerin, head coach Dan Bylsma was forced to breakup the Cooke-Talbot-Dupuis unit that was Pittsburgh’s best line and delivered the Penguins only goal in Sunday’s loss.
Dupuis moved up to the top line with Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby, while Max Talbot was elevated to the second line.
Sidney Crosby was pointless for the second straight game and has been limited to just one shot on goal in consecutive games.
Game 4 Thursday night