Fleury earns 19th career shutout
Marc Andre Fleury and Martin Brodeur each earned shutouts but it was Fleury who out dueled his childhood idol in the shootout.
Fleury stopped all three Devils shooters and James Neal scored in the third round of a shootout, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins (44-23-8, 96 pts) to a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils (34-35-5, 73 pts) on Friday night at the Consol Energy Center.
Pittsburgh improved to 8-3 in shootouts and moved within two points of Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference lead. Philadelphia has two games in hand and the two rivals meet for the final time in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
In a defensive battle, Fleury made 21 saves to record his 19th career shutout and 3rd of the season. An amazing stat is that Fleury now has 4 career shutouts on March 25th.
Fleury stopped Brian Rolston, Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias in the shootout, while James Neal delivered in the shootout for the second time in three games.
It was Pittsburgh third straight shootout win as the Penguins improved to 8-2-2 in their last 12 games.
Despite earning a point, the Devils slim playoff hopes took another hit as the # eight-seeded Buffalo Sabres won tonight to move 10 points in front of New Jersey. The Devils have eight games remaining.
The Penguins outshot New Jersey 26-21 in the game and held a 32-12 advantage in the hit department. Pittsburgh and New Jersey combined for just 4 shots on goal in the first period.
The Penguins return to action Sunday afternoon against the Florida Panthers at home.
Penguins forward Mike Comrie appeared in his first game since November 24, 2010. Comrie had 8:07 of ice time and collected 0 shots and was pointless in the game….
Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov suffered a left shoulder injury and is expected to miss time. He was injured on a hard hit by Chris Kunitz in the second period of tonight’s game…..
The Penguins three shooters in the shootout were Kris Letang, Alex Kovalev and James Neal….
Paul Martin led the Penguins with 27:46 of ice time….
The Penguins scratched Eric Godard, Eric Tangradi, Brent Johnson, Dustin Jeffrey and Mark Letestu…..
Pittsburgh is climbing in the standings and have moved 7 points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning (89pts) for the No. 4 seed in the East.
A first round matchup against the Lightning is seen as a favorable matchup for Pittsburgh. The Lightning are fading fast but a matchup the Penguins want to stay away from is with Montreal (87pts) who are two back of Tampa for the 5th seed…..