DETROIT – They say it's better to be lucky than good. After Saturday night, Marc-Andre Fleury might agree with that statement.
Following the Penguins' 3-1 loss to the Red Wings in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Fleury had a hard time explaining how he could get so unlucky on all three goals, but he felt he still had a solid game.
"I know that it was a good game," Fleury said. "It's a little frustrating when they go in. I thought the team did a great job for me, keeping the shots to the outside a lot."
"Fleury played another one of his great games for us," teammate Bill Guerin concurred. "He made some big saves when we needed them."
The first goal allowed by the Penguins' goaltender was the direct result of the live boards here at Joe Louis Arena. In the opening period, Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart's shot from the point went wide, but caromed off the boards, then off Fleury and into the net, giving the Red Wings a 1-0 lead.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the second, Brian Rafalski used the boards to the Red Wings' advantage, firing a wide shot of his own that went to right to the stick of Johan Franzen, who banked a centering feed off Fleury's right pad to give Detroit the lead for good.
Fleury's only recourse was to do a little self-evaluation before Sunday night's Game 2.
"I'll check the tapes and see what happened," a bewildered Fleury said.
Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood knows exactly what his counterpart is going through.
"I know how it feels. It's frustrating sometimes," Osgood said.
The Red Wings' third and final tally was slightly more conventional, but hardly your usual goal. Justin Abdelkader took a pass from Ville Leino and fired a quick shot from a tough angle that Fleury stopped. Penguins center Jordan Staal had the front of the net covered, but he lost sight of the puck when it popped high into the air.
Abdelkader, however, tracked it all the way. He grabbed the puck shoulder-high, put it down, and managed to whack a bouncing puck into the top corner of the net to put a cap on a weird night of scoring against Fleury.
The silver lining for Fleury is with Game 2 less than 24 hours away, he doesn't have to dwell on this loss for too long.
"I'm looking forward to going back and playing again," said Fleury. "I think we've got a good game our side and everyone is looking forward to going back and playing again."
If the Penguins can just get a little better at board games, they'll have a much better shot at evening the series.
Contact Dave Lozo at firstname.lastname@example.org.