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Fleury Rewarded With First Shutout

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Marc-Andre Fleury has been putting together an outstanding stretch of goaltending for the Penguins – and on Tuesday, he was rightfully rewarded with his first shutout of the season (and 20th of his career) in a 3-0 victory over New York Islanders.

“It’s always good to get a win,” Fleury said, adding, “Definitely nicer to get it with a shutout.”

Fleury has allowed just two goals through his last 11 periods of work dating back to the second period at Winnipeg on Oct. 17. He’s turned aside 107 of 109 shots over that span for a .982 save percentage.

The 26-year-old netminder now has three-straight wins and six total on the season, which ranks second (tied) in the league. Fleury’s play has been one of the main reasons that the Penguins keep earning points in the standings, and his teammates were happy to see him get his dues on Tuesday with the goose egg.

“Our goaltending has been outstanding,” forward Richard Park said. “You don't have to look any further than them as the reason for our success right now.”

Added center Jordan Staal, “He played an unbelievable game. I’m glad he got rewarded with a shutout.”

The Islanders certainly didn’t make it easy for Fleury, as they came at him often and hard – throwing 33 pucks to the net and earning a multitude of quality scoring chances.

He made plenty of highlight-reel saves, but some of the best came in a sequence at the end of the first when John Tavares and PA Parenteau got repeated cracks right on the doorstep that culminated with a glove save from Fleury.

"Our goaltender had to be the best player on the ice," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "I thought Marc-Andre Fleury outstanding. … Marc-Andre made some huge saves at different times – ones where you thought they might be going in and he found a way to keep them out of there.

“At any given time in that game, it could have turned because of that. It ends up 3-0, but I think we know that he was a big factor in that.”

While Tuesday was clearly one of Fleury’s best performances of his eight starts so far this season, the affable netminder repeatedly shifted the credit to his teammates – who blocked a total of 26 shots on the night led by Deryk Engelland and Matt Niskanen’s five apiece.

“There were a few that came pretty close,” Fleury said. “A lot of times it seems like my D blocked some shots and rebounds, so they helped me out a lot. It was a big help. … Because of them, I was able to get a shutout tonight.”

With Tuesday’s victory, the Penguins’ win streak is now four games long. They’ve been doing a lot of things right and still have some aspects of their game they’d like to fine-tune.

But the bottom line is that as long as they continue to get excellent goaltending, they have a chance to win every night.

“I just try to do my best, stop some pucks and try to get some wins,” Fleury said.
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