One of the biggest question marks for the Pittsburgh Penguins entering the 2014 playoffs was Marc-Andre Fleury. He had a pretty terrible postseason in 2013, and couldn't get the Pens out of the first-round in 2012. But 2014 has been a different story. And after his play in the the last couple games, all the criticism should stop. At least for now.
Last night, the Pens went up on the Rangers 2-1 in their second round series. Fleury stopped all 35 shots to shutout New York, 2-0, for back-back shutouts. He also blanked the Rangers in Game 2, 3-0, stopping 22 shots. Posting two straight shutouts is not easy, especially in the NHL playoffs. But Fleury did it in consecutive days — the Penguins and Rangers played rare postseason back-to-back games Sunday and Monday. Only five other goalies in NHL history have done that: Mike Richter in 1994, Martin Brodeur in 1995, Curtis Joseph in 2001, Brent Johnson in 2002, and Henrik Lunqvist in 2013.
Fleury's has been huge for the Penguins, who have had some defensive troubles with both the Rangers and their first-round opponent, the Blue Jackets. But last night, Fleury needed some luck in keeping the Rangers off the board, especially in the first couple periods when New York clanged three shots off the posts. The closest the Rangers came to beating Fleury was when Mats Zuccarello hit the crossbar in the second. Fleury knew he was saved by the post, so he took a moment to thank it. Check out the 50-second mark:
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