Fleury answers critics when it counts

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:27 PM ET

MONTREAL - There had been some questions about the play of Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in these playoffs.

An .889 save percentage for the defending Stanley Cup champions tends to do that.

We have seen them (questions) at different times of his career. Hes never been one to put up blazing numbers, said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. But hes always been one to answer the situation or has thrown up great games and I think our room believes in the guy we got in the net. Time and time again hes proven it.

He proved it again Tuesday night.

Fleury made 18 saves in the Penguins 2-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. It wasnt a spectacular night, but he did make two big stops - one on Montreals sizzling Mike Cammalleri and another on Tomas Plekanec - with the Penguins protecting a 1-0 lead late in the third.

For the most part, we didnt give them much, said Fleury.

It was another night where Fleury basically did what he had to do to get the Penguins the win and a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.

Thats a great trait for a goalie, no matter if it is 1-0 or 5-4 or when you have the lead, said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. I think being on the road and the circumstances being the way they are, its big for him to show up and be big in those crucial times. Hes shown that time and time again.

"We are really lucky to have him and you know what, he made some big saves and we wouldnt have got a win without the way he played.

Hes got things to prove and he came up huge, said Penguins forward Max Talbot, to himself. And to us. He proved himself today that he was the goalie. He made the big save like when we needed him. Thats the Flower we like to have and hes awesome.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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