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Fleury, Defense Stifle Senators

by Joe Sager / Pittsburgh Penguins

Marc-Andre Fleury just wanted a win Wednesday night.

He left the ice with a shutout.

Fleury was strong in goal for the Penguins as he turned aside all 26 shots he faced to propel the Penguins to a 4-0 win over the Senators in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

“That’s a great start,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.

Indeed. While the Penguins dominated offensively behind a pair of Gary Roberts goals and three Evgeni Malkin points, Fleury and the Penguins defense were in lockdown mode. The Penguins denied all seven Ottawa power-play chances, including a pair of two-man advantages.

“I think the penalty killers did an awesome job,” Fleury said. “They have lots of skilled guys who are dangerous around the net. I know our defense blocked a couple shots and cleared away a couple rebounds from in front of the net. I think all our guys did an awesome job.”

It was Fleury’s first-career postseason shutout and the Penguins’ first donut since Johan Hedberg blanked the Buffalo Sabres, 3-0, on April 26, 2001.

“It was just fun to get that first win,” Fleury said. “The guys played well and took it all the way. I am just looking forward to the next one.”

Fleury, only 23, continues his progression for the Penguins. Since returning from a high ankle sprain on Feb. 28, Fleury is 11-2-1. He has won 11-straight starts at Mellon Arena and is 12-1-1 in his last 14 starts at home. He has not allowed more than two goals in 17 of his last 18 starts.

“The last part of the season he’s been the best goalie in NHL,” Therrien said. “He’s given us a chance to win.”

Fleury and the Penguins hope that trend continues.



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