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Fleury's 33 saves lead Pens past Isles 3-0

by Dan Rosen
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- When Marc-Andre Fleury has to talk about himself, he looks about as comfortable as you can imagine he would be trying to play center for the Penguins with No. 87 on his back.

Fleury simply isn't the type of guy that loves to live in the spotlight, but he had no choice Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum.

Fleury's 33 saves were the reason the Pittsburgh Penguins went home with two points. Pascal Dupuis, ex-Islander Richard Park and Jordan Staal provided the offense, but it was the Penguins' All-Star goalie who took care of the glaring holes in Pittsburgh's defense to pick up his first shutout of the season and 20th of his career in a 3-0 win against the Islanders.

"There were some pretty good ones (saves), but that's just part of being a goalie," Fleury said. "It doesn't matter if they're simple or hard, you have to get out there and make the save to keep your team it the game. At other times they've saved my butt. That's how a team can be successful."

The Islanders held a 23-15 edge in shots on goal through 40 minutes largely because the Penguins had too many turnovers leading to odd-man rushes. They relied heavily on Fleury to clean up the problems, but he did and in the process ran his streak of success to three straight wins in which he's stopped 83 of 85 shots.

"As good as he is, you don't want to put that much pressure on him," defenseman Brooks Orpik told "It's not going to be like that every night, but that's why he gets paid as well as he does I guess."

Of course, it only seemed like Fleury won Tuesday's game by himself. The Penguins had to help him out by putting a few pucks past Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov (26 saves).

Dupuis got Pittsburgh on the board 17:06 into the first period when he beat Nabokov to the stick-side on a breakaway for his third goal of the season. Orpik sprung him with a sharp breakout pass from the defensive zone. Dupuis had to reach out to gather the puck on his stick just before he crossed the Islanders' blue line, but he settled the puck and was all alone from there.

"I knew he was there, so I just tried to get it to him out in front," Orpik said. "I actually thought I put it too far out in front, so I was surprised he got it."

Park burned his old team 21 seconds into the second period by taking advantage of an Islander turnover to beat Nabokov from the high slot. Arron Asham forced the turnover and got the puck to Park at the top of the left circle. He went by Steve Staios and shot through John Tavares, who was in front of the net. The puck skidded off of Nabokov's left arm and went in the net.

Staal added an empty-net goal with two minutes to play in the third period. But the post-game discussions in the dressing rooms and among the coaches still came back to Fleury.

"Marc-Andre made some huge saves at different times," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "Ones we thought might be going in, he found a way to keep them out of there. It ends up 3-0, and I think we know he ends up a big factor in that."

The Islanders reaction to getting shut out was further proof of how good Fleury was.

"We had some extended zone time and structure-wise we played well in the offensive zone," Isles coach Jack Capuano said. "We had some net presence. (Fleury) made some pretty good saves. I thought he played extremely well."

Islanders center John Tavares, who was stoned by Fleury on all four of his shots, said it was the type of offensive performance the team could build on for Thursday's game at Consol Energy Center against the opponent and likely the same goaltender.

"We had some really good chances and it's on a lot of us to put them away," Tavares said. "Sometimes it takes an ugly one. We have to find a way to get one of those. In saying that, it was much better offensively than the past road trip."

Fleury's first big stop came on a Kyle Okposo deflection 6:43 into the game. Okposo got a piece of Frans Nielsen's wrist shot, but Fleury reacted quickly to make a right pad save.

"It's a feel-good one. It's a fun one," Fleury said of the save on Okposo. "As a goalie you thrive on making good saves just as another player does on scoring goals. I tried to stay upbeat after that, keep it simple to make some stops."

He made six more saves before Dupuis gave the Penguins the lead, and capped the period with dazzling back-to-back gems in the final minute. Fleury stopped Tavares shot from the slot, and after Matt Moulson's attempt off the rebound was blocked he gloved PA Parenteau's wrister from with 40 seconds left.

The Penguins had nine giveaways in the first period, but not one came back to bite them.

"It felt good just to be able to make a couple of saves there to come back in the room with a 1-0 lead," Fleury said. "That's always more relaxing."

The best of Fleury's 10 saves in the second period came on Brian Rolston off a 2-on-1 rush with 13:06 to play. Rolston's rush with Josh Bailey began when Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland broke his stick trying to clear the puck out of the defensive zone.

The Penguins were again sloppy in their own end to start the third period, but Fleury made back-to-back right pad saves on Moulson just 30 seconds in to erase the obvious errors by the guys skating in white in front of him.

He did it all night long.

"Our goaltender really had to be the best player on the ice," Bylsma said.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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