Penguins notebook: Fleury proves his tenacity
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stops a shot in the first period of Friday's game at Consol Energy Center.
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Marc-Andre Fleury didn't just stop 43 shots Friday in the Penguins' 2-1 win against Ottawa at Consol Energy Center.
He also found himself in the middle of two third-period scrums near his net. In the second one, at 12:45, he got more involved and ended up taking a coincidental roughing penalty with Senators winger Chris Neil.
"It was a little fun," Fleury said.
"Our defense is just beside [the Ottawa forwards], and they fake and fall on me and give me some stick in the back, and the back of the head. It was the second time in the period, so I just thought that was enough."
Neil is one of Ottawa's more rugged players, but Fleury still didn't hesitate to get involved.
"I knew my defensemen were close," Fleury said, laughing.
In the fracas, Fleury lost his mask. That was courtesy of Neil, he said.
"He took it away," Fleury said. "Not me. I would rather keep it."
After all, Fleury wasn't looking to signal that he wanted to fight, something that left his coach relieved.
"I'm just glad he didn't drop his blocker and his gloves," Dan Bylsma said.
A 3-2 shootout win Friday at Philadelphia was just Calgary's third win in 13 games and, at 20 points, the Flames sit in 14th place in the 15-team Western Conference coming into their game today against the Penguins.
"I don't have any grand illusions or false hopes or anything like that," Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter told the Calgary Herald. "I believe we can be a playoff team."
Intense criticism has been aimed at Sutter and coach Brent Sutter (younger brother of the general manager), and there has been some call to see what Jarome Iginla -- the face of the franchise and the club's leading scorer -- might bring in a trade.
"It's so natural for people to do that," Sutter said of the angst. "There's a percentage of people who don't want you to do well."
He also offered a vote of confidence for the coaches.
"Being in the locker room, and watching them, I'm fine with them," Darryl Sutter said. "From being a head coach before, you try to distance yourself. I know what it's like to feel like somebody is always stepping in.
"I'm fine with them."
Penguins center Sidney Crosby has established himself as one of the top faceoff men in the NHL and someone the Penguins rely on heavily, but he met his match in Ottawa's Jason Spezza.
After the win and before the night slate of games, Crosby had most draws taken, 576, and won, 319. He is taking 41.4 percent of the Penguins' faceoffs, the highest proportion in the league, and winning at a 55.4 percent clip.
Bylsma at times puts Crosby on the ice specifically to take an important draw, such as in certain spots while the Penguins are killing a penalty.
Against Ottawa, Crosby won just 5 of 15 draws against Spezza, and 5 of 8 against other Senators, for an overall 10-of-23 showing, one of his few games under 50 percent at 43 percent.
"He's good," Crosby said of Spezza. "He's a righty. He's strong. Maybe [I've struggled against him] a bit. Today I definitely lost more than I won.
"He's a good faceoff guy, and some nights they go like that."
Penguins forward Mike Comrie, who left Thursday's practice early, did not participate in the pregame warm-up and was a lineup scratch. Bylsma said Comrie has an unspecified physical problem and is still being evaluated. ... Bylsma also made a late change in his lineup, opting to dress defenseman Ben Lovejoy instead of Deryk Engelland. "It was more of [the Senators'] lineup that was the difference," the coach said. "They didn't go with [defenseman Matt] Carkner." Engelland has shown himself to be a heavyweight fighter and physical player, and Carkner is also a tough player. ... During a first-period break, the Penguins honored Ottawa captain Daniel Aldfredsson and former Penguins winger Alex Kovalev. Each recently reached 1,000 career points.
First Published November 27, 2010 12:00 am