Marc-Andre Fleury was tested early, and tested often.
He passed the test.
Fleury made 27 saves as the Penguins defeated the Calgary Flames, 2-1, at Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday night to finish with a 2-0-1 mark on their three-game Western Canadian trip.
"It was nice to have a nice, low-scoring game," Fleury said. "The last few games were a little crazy."
Fleury, who has now won five straight against Calgary and three consecutive at the Saddledome, had to be particularly strong in the third period, a period in which the Pens found themselves shorthanded for an extensive amount of time.
But his best save came when the Penguins were on a power play in the second period. Fleury was moving to his side but was bumped in the crease. He spun around and managed to get the back of his head on a shot from Mikael Backlund.
"His best save came when he got tied up and used the head to get the save," Bylsma said. "That was a pretty amazing save."
"I was stuck and rolled around and tried to get something and it went off the back of my head," Fleury said. "I couldn¹t see (who shot it)."
HOLDING THE LEAD
The Penguins entered the third period with a 2-0 lead against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. Pittsburgh would eventually lose that game 4-3 in overtime.
Pittsburgh entered the third period with a 2-0 lead against Calgary. This time the defense clamped down and made the lead stand.
"We didn"t shoot ourselves in the foot," Niskanen said of the team's defensive performance in the third. "We were disappointed in how last night ended. We talked about getting better in that situation. We think we'll have a lot of leads this year and we want to have smart third periods. We were better tonight."
"We have a lot of guys who can score goals, but if we want to be successful we have to do well defensively," Fleury said.
BORTUZZO HIT AND PK
Seven minutes into the third period Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo landed a check at the red line boards into Calgary"s Mark Giordano.
After the hit Mike Cammalleri went after Bortuzzo and every player on the ice was drawn into a scrum. Bortuzzo was given a match penalty and a five-minute contact with the head.
"Puck was on the end of Giordano's stick coming up the wall in front of the penalty box and Robert steps up for a hit," Bylsma said. "That's what I think it was. Just a clean hit."
The Penguins were forced to kill the five-minute major, although two minutes of the advantage was negated when Cammalleri took a cross checking penalty.
"That was a tall task. I thought our penalty killers did a great job," Bylsma said. "PK, 5-on-5 as well, we battled at the end."
Niskanen has quietly been producing offense from the blue line. He scored on a shot in the second period that would hold up for his fifth game-winning goal of the season the best mark among all NHL defensemen.
Niskanen now has points in nine of his last 12 games for 10 total (5G-5A).
Pens center Zach Sill wasn't credited with an assist the team¹s first goal, but he should be awarded an honorary assist.
Sill went into the corner and was battling for a loose puck. Calgary's Joe Colborne began punching him in the head from behind. The Pens moved the puck out of the corner, but Colborne was still hitting Sill in the head trying to evoke a fight.
Sill, in a moment of tranquil serenity, resisted Colborne's ploy. The referee raised his arm for a delayed penalty. While this altercation was taking place, the Kunitz scored a goal to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.
Sill smartly kept his gloves on when he saw the Penguins were about to be awarded with a power play. And if he had dropped his gloves, the play would have stopped and Kunitz's goal would not have counted. Great awareness from Sill on that sequence.
Penguins center Joe Vitale was scratched due to an upper-body injury. The team lost another forward when Brian Gibbons suffered a lower-body injury early in the first period and did not return.
There is no timetable on either player.
Author: Sam Kasan