Fleury, Penguins shut out Devils

NEWARK, N.J.-- Marc-Andre Fleury didn't rely on acrobatics. He didn't fling himself around the Penguins' net or flail at shots.

He just played a smart, sound game in the Penguins' goal, had solid positioning and used his glove, blocker and legs to stymie the New Jersey Devils, 1-0, last night at the Prudential Center.

Oh, and he discovered it doesn't hurt to have an extra limb in the crease, even if it belongs to a teammate.

"The players helped me out a lot," said Fleury, who, as the goaltender of record, was credited with all 37 saves for the Penguins.

Unofficially, one save went to Mark Eaton, specifically his left foot.

With the Penguins holding that tenuous one-goal lead after Ruslan Fedotenko scored, the Devils thought they tied it at 15:51 of the second period when David Clarkson stuffed the puck past Fleury on a power-play scramble in and around the crease.

It was immediately ruled no goal and reviewed. Eaton, who was sprawled in the crease, had reached back with his right foot, cradled the puck with his skate and pulled it out of the net. Replays seemed to indicate the puck didn't quite completely cross the goal line.

"I probably shouldn't have been in that position in the first place, but I was there and I just kind of saw it trickling by out of the corner of my eye," Eaton said. "It's just a reflex move.

"I had no idea [whether it crossed the line]. I would have guessed it was a goal, but I never really saw it."

He caught a replay during the game.

"They called it no goal, and I didn't think from the replay there was conclusive evidence to overturn it," Eaton said.

Otherwise, Fleury robbed the Devils time and again.

His biggest save came shortly before Eaton's big play on the same power play.

It was the only time Fleury was caught significantly out of position, but he slid to his right to make a glove save on New Jersey winger Jamie Langenbrunner, who looked to have an open net after collecting a rebound.

"He was phenomenal," Eaton said of his goaltender, who earned his first shutout this season and 12th of his career.

"Credit him for the victory. Anything we can do to help, but, when he's on his game like that, we just need to make sure they don't get second opportunities because he's going to make the first save."

New Jersey played like it always does -- setting up road blocks in the neutral zone and converting the blue line to quicksand -- and that meant the Penguins weren't generating a ton offensively.

They finished with 18 shots, the fifth game in a row they have been held to 26 or fewer and second game in a row under 20.

Center Sidney Crosby had no points and was held without a shot for the second game in a row, the fifth time this season and 13th time in his career.

Washington's Alex Ovechkin had a goal in Washington's 3-2 win against Buffalo to pull into a tie with Crosby for second place in the NHL scoring race at 47 points each.

Defenseman Ryan Whitney, playing in his second game of the season after summer foot surgery, played on the right point on the power play, with Evgeni Malkin moving to forward, but the Penguins' went 0-for-9 with just two shots.

With the offense held down, the goaltender came through.

Fleury, who made his fifth consecutive start after missing 13 games because of a groin injury, had no problem taking on the pressure of lifting his team to a much-needed feel-good win.

"It's pretty cool," he said. "I want to do my part. I wish I could do shutouts every night, but I know it's not going to happen.

"But I feel better, timing-wise and little plays in tight, foot movement to be at the right place at the right time."

The Penguins were shut out, 2-0, Tuesday by Tampa Bay. New Jersey was shut out for the second game in a row.

Fedotenko's goal came three minutes before Eaton's save.

Taking a feed from Malkin -- who increased his NHL-leading point total to 59 -- in the high slot, Fedotenko sent a low shot toward goaltender Scott Clemmensen.

"He made a save, but the puck just went through him," said Fedotenko, who couldn't celebrate until he had watched the puck scoot under Clemmensen and just inside the left post at 12:51 of the second period.

"I kept looking to see if it was going to go in," Fedotenko said.

"One-nothing, we'll take it."

Scouting report

Matchup: Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens, 7:08 p.m. today, Mellon Arena.

TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WXDX-FM (105.9).

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury for Penguins. Carey Price for Canadiens.

Penguins: Have lost three of past four at home. ... C Sidney Crosby had one goal in past 11 games before last night. ... C Evgeni Malkin has 2 goals, 6 assists in past seven home games.

Canadiens: Have been off since 3-2 overtime loss Sunday to Carolina. ... D Andrei Markov has 21 points in 22 career games vs. Penguins. ... Are 4-7-13 in overtime vs. Penguins.

Hidden stat: Montreal has had three goals disallowed because they came after whistles.

Shelly Anderson can be reached at shanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1721. First Published December 27, 2008 5:00 AM


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