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Fleury's stop a game-saver for Pens

Saturday, 04.18.2009 / 12:00 PM / 2009 Playoffs Conference Quarterfinals

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- The net looked empty and the League's second-leading goal scorer was wide open on the post.

There was 8:38 left in the third period and the Flyers led the Penguins 2-1. Another goal by the Flyers surely would mean a tied series heading to the raucous Wachovia Center in Philadelphia for Game 3 of the teams' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series on Sunday.

The Flyers had a two-on-one down low, and Joffrey Lupul's shot from the right side was tipped and rolled across the crease to Jeff Carter.

Carter scored 46 goals during the regular season, second only to Alex Ovechkin's 56, and he looked like he was about to add his first playoff goal of 2009.

Out of nowhere, though, came Marc-Andre Fleury -- or, at least, his right toe. The Penguins goaltender somehow got from one side of the crease to the other to make a spectacular kick save and keep it a one-goal game.

"I was a little far from the puck on that," said Fleury. "I was in a bad spot so I just tried to get my pads over there and it hit my toe."

When asked if he thought he had an open net, a dejected Carter replied, "Obviously not."

The save became even more important later in the period when the Penguins tied the game late in the third, and eventually won in overtime, 3-2, to take a 2-0 series lead.

"The playoffs is all about timely scoring and individual plays that turn the momentum," said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. "It looks like a for-sure goal that's going in and somehow he gets his skate or pad on it. It's a remarkable save and it keeps the game within reach for us at that point."

The save was the biggest of the 38 Fleury made in Game 2. In two games, Fleury has allowed just three goals on 67 shots (1.30 goals-against average), and his strong play is inspiring confidence in his teammates.

"It means the world to a team, gives you a second life," said Bill Guerin. "You get energized by that. You realize your goalie helped keep you in the game and that's what we ask from them this time of year."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.
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We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp