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Marc-Andre Fleury of Penguins fine with not keeping busy in Game 2

Pittsburgh goaltender went nearly 19 minutes without facing shot on goal against Senators

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had the best seat in the house for a good portion of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at PPG Paints Arena on Monday.

He could do only one thing.

"Wait," Fleury said.

A long time. 

Fleury, standing in his crease, had the best vantage point of anybody to watch the Penguins dominate the puck-possession game against the Ottawa Senators. He watched them attack in waves, recoiling back to get the puck whenever Ottawa would clear it and then going after the Senators again, and again, and again until Phil Kessel finally scored at 13:05 of the third period.

 

[RELATED: Complete Penguins-Senators series coverage]

 

The Penguins, who won 1-0 to even the best-of-7 series at 1-1, held the Senators without a shot on goal for 18:53 bridging the second and third periods. Ottawa had two shot attempts in that span. Each missed the net.

During that same stretch, the Penguins had 17 shot attempts resulting in nine shots on goal, the last coming off Kessel's stick and beating Senators goalie Craig Anderson glove side.

"I think it was just the patience," Fleury said of what he saw from his crease. "We knew what to expect from them, and we stuck with it. We kept playing our game. Everybody talks about how good of a defense they are, but we had the puck so much, and we didn't give them much. I thought we controlled the play from start to finish."

Fleury made 23 saves, including seven after Kessel scored, a pushback he expected from the Senators. But if there can be an easy shutout in a Stanley Cup Playoff game, or at least a less-than-difficult shutout, Fleury certainly got one in Game 2.

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm2: Fleury shuts down Dzingel in close

He'll happily take it again in Game 3 at Ottawa on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), because that would mean the Penguins will have stuck with what they discovered works against the Senators.

The way the Penguins won Game 2 was the textbook way of defeating the Senators.

For starters, they didn't turn over the puck or shoot into shin pads that could give the Senators odd-man rushes going at Fleury.

The Penguins stayed on the attack despite some heavy hitting in their attacking zone by Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf, whose thunderous check on Bryan Rust coming through the middle with the puck at 4:58 of the first period knocked the Penguins forward out of the game.

Pittsburgh, which also lost defenseman Justin Schultz to injury midway through the first period, got through Ottawa's 1-3-1 neutral-zone setup with relative ease, like it did in Game 1. The difference this time is the Penguins got the puck low and worked their offense from below the goal line when they could. They set up plays, got chances in the slot, and just kept hemming the Senators in their zone, forcing them to defend.

That the Penguins scored one goal didn't seem like a buzzkill, probably because they didn't give the Senators much of a chance to get one themselves.

"If we have to win 1-0, we're absolutely 100 percent comfortable with that," Penguins center Matt Cullen said.

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm2: Fleury, Maatta, Sullivan on Game 2 win

There were times when it seemed Ottawa was content to defend because Pittsburgh wasn't attacking the net, instead of just moving the puck around, but the more zone time the Penguins had, the more they appeared to wear out the Senators.

And, of course, the more zone time they got the less opportunity Ottawa had to try to beat Fleury, who had to stay busy doing other things.

"I try to skate in the corners, stretch out, move around, just try to stay loose," Fleury said. "I try to talk to the guys when they come by. Trying to just keep my head into it."

The Penguins finished Game 2 with a 57-35 advantage in shot attempts, including 47-29 at 5-on-5. The Senators blocked 18 shots, a point of minor contention by Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, but only because he thought the Penguins could have found better shooting lanes at times.

"There were a number of really high quality chances that we didn't score on," Sullivan said. "We hit some posts. But we were really pleased with the amount of quality scoring chances that we were able to generate, and we were pleased with the way we were able to dictate the terms."

That the Penguins were held to one goal doing so seemed irrelevant. Game 2 was one of the rare times a 1-0 game felt like a blowout.

Keep it up and the Penguins might get a real blowout win in Game 3.

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