Marc-Andre Fleury's 150th NHL victory was one of his most enjoyable.
Fleury, whose struggles have temporarily cost him his starting job, stopped 15 shots on Friday as the Pittsburgh Penguins shut down the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. He had started and finished just one of his previous five games and won for only the second time in nine starts this season.
"I don't think technically I did anything different," said Fleury, who was 1-6 and hadn't won in regulation before Friday. "But maybe I was a little more relaxed. I tried to not worry too much and just go out there play hockey. It was fun, fun to win at the end."
Fleury became the seventh-youngest goaltender to reach 150 victories. He had allowed at least three goals in every start this season except his last one -- when he was yanked in Phoenix after allowing two early goals in the first seven minutes.
"He played great," coach Dan Bylsma said. "He made some great saves. He stayed tall. This was a big game for Mark."
Fleury got plenty of help from his teammates -- Tampa Bay had only 11 even-strength shots. But he also made some strong saves, stopping Martin St. Louis in alone during the second period, and getting his left leg on Adam Hall's rebound try during a 5-on-3 power play with about 13 minutes to play and the score just 2-1.
"We had a few good chances, but Fleury made some great saves out there," Lightning forward Dominic Moore said.
The save came not long after Steven Stamkos scored Tampa Bay's lone goal, a rocket of a one-timer from the left circle during a two-man advantage off a pass from St. Louis. It was his League-leading 15th goal of the season.
"He's a good goalie. He's won a championship," Stamkos said about Fleury. "He knows what it takes. He's just been struggling but he's not going to struggle all year. He made some big saves."
But after Fleury helped the Penguins survive the second 5-on-3, the Penguins blew the game open with three late goals. Maxime Talbot scored on a slapper from the left circle at 12:12 after a solo rush down the wing, Sidney Crosby snapped home his 11th of the season at 16:44 and defenseman Derek Engelland fired a slap shot through traffic past Mike Smith at 18:50 as the Penguins won for just the third time in eight game at the new Consol Energy Center.
"We put a lot of stress on them, but they just have some really highly-skilled guys," defenseman Mattias Ohlund said.
Crosby's assist on Engelland's goal gave him 24 points, three behind Stamkos' League-leading total.
The Lightning, who lost 6-3 at Washington on Thursday, have dropped five of six. Tampa Bay, playing its first game without captain Vincent Lecavalier after he broke his right hand one night earlier and still without top-six forward Simon Gagne, scored fewer than three goals for the third time in five games.
"I can't be down (on his team)," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. "I mean, they're pushing, they're giving everything they've got. You should see the guys on the bench. They're winded out there, they're dead tired, but they're still going, so it's all we can ask for right now."
The game was scoreless until Pittsburgh scored twice in 27 seconds midway through the second period.
Dupuis opened the scoring at 8:01 when he deflected Kris Letang's writer from the right point past Smith for his fifth of the season. Goligoski finished off a pass across the slot by Mike Rupp at 8:28.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Pascal Dupuis (5) ASST: Kris Letang (13), Max Talbot (2)|
1 - 0 PIT
|Alex Goligoski (4) ASST: Mike Rupp (3), Mark Letestu (5)|
2 - 0 PIT
|PPG - Steven Stamkos (15) ASST: Martin St. Louis (12), Teddy Purcell (7)|
2 - 1 PIT
|Max Talbot (3) ASST: NONE|
3 - 1 PIT
|Sidney Crosby (11) ASST: Pascal Dupuis (3)|
4 - 1 PIT
|Deryk Engelland (1) ASST: Sidney Crosby (13), Chris Kunitz (5)|
5 - 1 PIT
|Power Play %||19.1%||15.1%|
|% on Road||14.3%||14.3%|
|% at Home||24.2%||15.6%|
|Sean Bergenheim Hi-sticking against Kris Letang|
|Mike Rupp Holding against Nate Thompson|
|Johan Harju Hooking against Sidney Crosby|
|Kris Letang Boarding against Steven Stamkos|
|Steven Stamkos Hooking against Craig Adams|
|Tyler Kennedy Hooking against Teddy Purcell|
|Mike Rupp Unsportsmanlike conduct against Mattias Ohlund|
|Sean Bergenheim Hi stick - double minor against Paul Martin|
|Brooks Orpik Hi stick - double minor against Mattias Ritola|
|Ryan Malone Hooking against Kris Letang|
|Pascal Dupuis Tripping against Mattias Ritola|
|Matt Cooke Boarding against Martin St. Louis|