GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (11-27-5-3) at Washington Capitals (13-26-5-2).
TIME: Sunday, 3 p.m. EST.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are desperate for a boost. For most of their last
game, they got one from rookie goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fresh off his first start in over a month, Fleury hopes to lead the Penguins
to a win over the Washington Capitals in a matchup of the two worst teams in
the Eastern Conference.
Fleury, making his first NHL start since Dec. 9 after playing for Canada in
the world junior championships, was shutting out the Minnesota Wild on Friday
until he gave up four goals in the final 8:33 as the Penguins lost 4-2.
"After the first goal, they got the momentum and used it to get four
goals," Fleury said. "I tried to play the same all game, and it just didn't
work out for us in the third."
Tom Kostopoulos and Ryan Malone scored for Pittsburgh, which has lost eight
of its last 10. The Penguins have earned just 30 points this season, the fewest
in the NHL.
Fleury, the No. 1 pick in the June draft, allowed the winning goal at the
championships, banking a clearing shot off his teammate and into his own goal.
"What he needs to do is take a lesson from the game, from the tournament,
and help project him to the level that he wants to play in the National Hockey
League now," said U.S. junior coach Mike Eaves.
The 20-year-old rookie has earned a 4-11-2 record and a .907 save percentage
in 19 games this season.
The Capitals are coming off Saturday's 2-1 overtime loss to the New Jersey
Devils, leaving them three points ahead of the Penguins in the Eastern
Jaromir Jagr scored on a rebound for Washington, which has not lost in
regulation in four straight games (2-0-1-1).
"It was a good game," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "I don't expect
much more from our group. I was pretty proud of how we played."