Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Canadiens 3, Penguins 2 Long Shot Spoils Fleury's Night Eller's Well- Placed Shot in Third Takes Bad Bounce for Penguins Goaltender

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Canadiens 3, Penguins 2 Long Shot Spoils Fleury's Night Eller's Well- Placed Shot in Third Takes Bad Bounce for Penguins Goaltender

Article excerpt

MONTREAL -- Used to be that a bad game would rattle Marc-Andre Fleury, causing him to follow it with one that wasn't much better.

Not anymore, though.

He proved that again Tuesday night, when he did just about everything possible to earn a victory for the Penguins against Montreal at the Bell Centre.

He turned aside 28 of 30 shots in regulation, then five of eight in the shootout that decided the game.

But none of those saves -- many of them acrobatic and exceptional -- made a difference because Montreal claimed a 3-2 victory.

It was the third loss in the past four games for the Penguins (30- 19-5), who are tied with New Jersey for fifth in the Eastern Conference. It also was the third loss -- only one of which has come in regulation -- for Fleury in the past 12 he has played immediately after being pulled from a game as he was Sunday in the Penguins 5-2 loss in New Jersey.

He was not always able to rebound so quickly, and so well. Fact is, the first nine times in his career Fleury was pulled from a game, he lost his next start.

Now, he nearly always rebounds well, which he did against the Canadiens.

"[Fleury] was great again," Penguins winger James Neal said. "Huge saves at the right times. It's tough when you don't pull one out in the shootout for him because he made some great saves."

It is one Fleury did not make that might stay with him for a while.

Early in the third period, not long after Pascal Dupuis had scored a short-handed goal to tie the score, 1-1, Lars Eller of the Canadiens carried the puck across the blue line on the left side, then threw a harmless-looking shot toward the net.

It got past Fleury's outstretched leg, then caromed off the right post. That bit of good fortune for Fleury turned very bad when the puck then bounced off him and into the net to put the Canadiens in front, 2-1.

The Penguins got that goal back when Neal scored his 28th, a career high, at 7:32, but they never did get a lead. Not, Dupuis said, that Eller's goal decided the outcome.

"We came back," he said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win that game."

Montreal had several leads over the course of the night and moved in front to stay in Round 8 of the shootout, when Tomas Plekanec beat Fleury and Canadiens goalie Carey Price preserved the victory by stopping Jason Williams, who had been recalled from the Penguins' team in Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day. …

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