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Fleury's strong third period helps Pens stave off Blackhawks

Dec 21, 2011 - 5:23 AM
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Marc-Andre Fleury made 17 of his 36 saves in the third period as the Pittsburgh Penguins hung on for a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Evgeni Malkin had three assists while Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Tyler Kennedy all scored for the Penguins, who have won their past two.

Jonathan Toews and Viktor Stalberg each scored in the third period for the Blackhawks, who had a season-high five-game winning streak snapped. Ray Emery was touched for all three goals on 28 shots.

"We just got too far behind in the first two periods," said Stalberg. "We played better in the third, but it wasn't enough to dig ourselves out of the hole."

The Pens held a comfortable 3-0 leading heading into the third, but that was cut to two just 49 seconds in on a 2-on-2 break that saw Stalberg pass the puck from the right to the front with Toews jamming it in.

Just over five minutes later, it was a 3-2 game as Marian Hossa sent a pass to the slot for Patrick Kane, who maneuvered around a defender to the left and swung the puck over to the right with Stalberg slamming it home.

However, Fleury stood tall after that, even when Chicago pulled Emery with James Neal in the box for a 6-on-4 for the final 1:29 of the game.

"They did some things in the third that we should have been better aware of," said Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma. "We knew they were going to come out harder and should have done a better job of handling that. We did respond better in the second half of the period and the PK and Fleury came up big at the end."

The Pens scored on the power play halfway through the first period for the first goal of the game when Kunitz was sprung behind the defense by Malkin and shifted to the forehand before putting it in.

At the 2:45 mark of the second, Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead as a 2-on-1 break saw Neal bury a shot from the right circle for his 19th of the year.

With 3 1/2 minutes to play in the second, the Pens were able to make it a 3-0 game as Ben Lovejoy skated down the right wing, behind the net and from the left side wrapped it over to the low right circle where Kennedy's one-timer beat Emery.

Game Notes

Pittsburgh plays in Winnipeg on Friday...Chicago returns home to start a five- game homestand, beginning with Montreal on Wednesday...Chicago had won the previous two against Pittsburgh.