– Marc-Andre Fleury
has won many games during his hockey career.
Perhaps none were as important as Monday’s 4-3 triple-overtime triumph over Detroit
in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Joe Louis Arena.
“That’s going to be huge for him. He was outstanding,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “He was outstanding in overtime, and both goalies obviously played really well. But no doubt, Fleury probably came through with his most-important win in his career.”
Fleury stopped 55 shots to earn the victory and keep the Penguins’ Stanley Cup hopes alive.
“He’s the reason why we won that game. You talk about goals and good defensive play, but Flower was the reason why we’re still here and I have a smile on my face,” Penguins forward Maxime Talbot said. “He was great. He made huge saves. I love him.”
Despite facing nearly twice as many shots as Detroit’s Chris Osgood (58-32), Fleury remained strong for the Penguins. He stopped all 24 pieces of rubber he saw in the three overtime periods – including 14 in Detroit’s furious first OT attack.
“It’s the most-emotional game I have played. It was so long and tiring, but it’s a great, great feeling to win that one,” Fleury said. “It was a big win and everyone is happy. It was a huge one for us.”
While the Penguins saw a 2-0 lead evaporate late in the game, they managed to tie the game on Talbot’s goal with 35 seconds left in regulation and won it on Petr Sykora’s shot 9:57 into the third overtime. Fleury’s strong play kept Pittsburgh in position to tie the game and eventually win it.
“We were trying to hold on. Obviously, they got a lot of momentum in the third and carried it through in overtime,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “The big answer for us was Marc-Andre Fleury. He was the difference. He held us in there, allowed us to keep battling and holding on. So a big part of that win goes to him. He kept us in the game.”