Marc-Andre Fleury wasn’t sure if his glove save on Erik Karlsson in the third period of Monday’s game against Ottawa to keep it a tie game – which Pittsburgh went on to win in overtime, 2-1 – was the best one he’s ever made.
“I don’t know, the one off the back of my head in Calgary was unusual a little bit,” he pondered. “But at least this one I saw. Might be.”
Then he stopped and laughed, shaking his head about a save he forgot to mention – “Wait, no, no, it can’t be, no. Game 7, the Stanley Cup.”
His coach and teammates, however, disagreed.
“Yes, flat out,” head coach Dan Bylsma said when asked if it’s the greatest save he’s ever seen from Fleury. Full story here
.NEAL BREAKS SLUMP
James Neal picked the perfect time to break his scoring slump.
After going goalless in eight games entering Monday night’s contest against the Senators, the Penguins winger netted the overtime winner to lead his team past Ottawa, 2-1.
“That felt good,” Neal admitted after the game. “It's been a little bit. … It felt like a while, a lot longer than it probably was.”
After Senators goalie Craig Anderson let a long rebound out into the slot, Neal calmly picked it up, pulled it to his forehand around Ottawa defender Jared Cowan and fired it in for his 18th of the season.
“I was trying to be patient with the puck and wait for an opening,” said Neal, who had six shots and five attempts blocked. “I knew their D-man was going to go down and Anderson was far out when ‘Bortz’ got the puck on the net. ‘Geno’ made a great pass to start the play off. That was a good feeling.”
Patience was key for Neal in breaking out of his drought, and it was key for the team as a whole. The game may have been low scoring, but it was exciting. Fleury was fantastic, and so was Anderson down at the other end as the Pens sent 48 shots his way, tying their season high. It was tight, close-checking, back-and-forth – it felt exactly like a playoff game, which the Sens are fighting to be in.
“I was just trying to get the puck on the net more, hit the net more,” Neal said. “When you don't score you sometimes try to pick corners and be too cute. It's something I've done the past games. I was able to find one tonight. We played a game we wanted to play all night. We stayed with it. Didn't deviate and it paid off in the end.”
Brian Gibbons also scored for the Penguins.BIG PERFORMANCES
The play center Brandon Sutter made on Gibbons’ goal was just one of the many he made this evening. He was terrific in the game, arguably Pittsburgh's best player while absolutely flying and using his speed to be effective all over the ice, whether it was circling back into his own end to help his defense or gaining the offensive zone.
Sutter took advantage of any space he was given and also created it for himself, carrying down the sides of the ice, powering around defenders and driving to the net. He possesses a high-velocity shot, and was able to get four quality ones off.
Maatta also had an excellent game. He kept calling for the puck and wanting it on his stick, something all great players do and something that shows how much confidence the rookie defenseman has in his game. When he got it, he didn’t panic, throw it away or immediately get rid of it – he tried to make plays. He was a big reason the Pens were able to create a number of extended offensive zone shifts.
Maatta also saved a goal in the second period. A puck bounced behind Fleury and was about to hop over the goal line, but Maatta sprinted back and swatted it out of danger.