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Fleury's season the first to end

by Brian Compton
PITTSBURGH -- Just like his teammates, Marc-Andre Fleury couldn't believe it.
The Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender was stunned by what transpired at Mellon Arena on Wednesday night, as the 2009 Stanley Cup champions were ousted from the postseason with a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
For Fleury, this was an especially difficult pill to swallow -- unlike his teammates, No. 29 wasn't on the ice when the horn sounded for the final time in this 49-year-old building.
Fleury was pulled 5:14 into the second period, when the 13th shot he faced went in to give the Canadiens a 4-0 lead. The Penguins were unable to recover from the gigantic deficit and saw their season ultimately come to an end.
"Very disappointing," said Fleury, who was replaced by Brent Johnson. "I think this series had a good bunch of guys, good bunch of players. We thought we could do good things. It's a tough loss."
Fleury struggled from the drop of the puck, as it took Montreal all of 32 seconds for Brian Gionta's shot to squeak through the goalie's pads. Dominic Moore made it 2-0 at 14:23, thanks to a turnover in the defensive zone. Moore collected the puck in the slot and fired a quick turnaround shot that probably surprised Fleury more than anything else.
The onslaught continued early in the second period, when Michael Cammalleri continued his remarkable postseason with his 12th goal on a one-timer from the slot that few goalies in this League, if any, would have stopped.
"It was the whole team, no question," Pens forward Jordan Staal said. "We didn't have a great start and we kind of let him out to dry. It's not fun to see a great guy like that have a start like that. The way we played in front of him wasn't good enough."
Things got worse when Travis Moen beat Fleury shorthanded at 5:14, which ended the latter's night. Fleury, though, can't be blamed for the fact that his team went 0-for-6 on the power play and allowed chances on his end of the ice.
"I did contemplate on putting him back in," Bylsma admitted. "I was thinking that even when I did pull him, that there's a chance I'd get him back in there. It's not the game 'Flower' planned on, it's not the game he anticipated. But it always has been and it always will be about the group, the guys in that room."
Still, Fleury -- the No. 1 pick in the 2003 Entry Draft -- took the blame.
"It was tough. I wish I could have made those saves to keep them in the game. The game just sort of got away from us there," he said.
Unfortunately for Fleury, he now has all summer to think about what happened on Wednesday night and in this series against the No. 8 Canadiens. Make no mistake, though -- there is no goalie controversy in Pittsburgh.
"I want 'Flower' in my next game," Bylsma said. 
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

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