for this game

Fleury leads Penguins to sixth win in seven games

Jan 31, 2007 - 5:05 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The Florida Panthers were the latest team to find out the Pittsburgh Penguins are for real.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots for his third shutout of the season as the Penguins ended a long stretch of misery against the Panthers with a 3-0 victory.

Defenseman Ryan Whitney scored a goal to extend his points streak to eight games and league-leading scorer Sidney Crosby added an assist for Pittsburgh, which had lost seven straight to Florida at Mellon Arena and 14 of 15 to them overall. They had lost their first two games against the Panthers this season.

"It seems that this year there were a few teams we had trouble with, like Toronto and Carolina, and there's no doubt Florida was one of them," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "The first two games we played against them, we didn't play that well. It was important for us after a road trip to try to build some momentum.

"We have three games this week at home; it's a demanding week against teams battling with us. In the meantime we had to try to resolve the problem against the Panthers, and we did it the right way."

Pittsburgh was outshot, 32-25, and Fleury had to make 13 saves in the final stanza, but it did not stop the Penguins from winning for the sixth time in seven games.

"The guys in front of me played great, so it was easy for me to stop the puck tonight," Fleury said. "The (shutout) feels good, but I think it's more important to get the win, get the two points. The standings are so close, we need the points.

"It's good to stop (the streak) vs. Florida. It had to come to an end. It feels good to do it tonight. I think everybody can feel more comfortable, more calm on the ice. Myself, I know even if I give up a bad goal, I know the team can come back, so it's a better feeling.

Pittsburgh is coming off four consecutive last-place finishes in the Atlantic Division, but it is in second place this season and seventh in the Eastern Conference with 56 points.

"They have drafted a lot of players high the past few years, gotten some good hockey players and it pays off," said Florida captain Olli Jokinen, who had the game-winner in the first game between the teams this season and had a hat trick in the second contest. "Their young guys have all gotten a little bi t better. You have the best player in the league in Crosby. It's easy to build around him. (Evgeni) Malkin and Whitney, all those guys are a year older this year and better than last.

"I think they are better in the defensive zone than they used to be. They sure are a tough team to play against. Somehow, we have had a good record against them in the past but we couldn't do it tonight."

The 22-year-old Fleury, who recorded his fifth career shutout, improved to 22-12-6 this season.

"It's simple. I think we're just playing confident," Crosby said. " Everyone's playing their role very well. I don't think anyone's slacking from the goalie out. We are all playing on the same page and getting results.

"Obviously we got some big saves. Fleury made some big ones, especially in the third when they were pressing pretty hard. That's what your goalie needs to do, he needs to buy you time and really make it tough on teams to get back when you have a lead."

Pittsburgh opened the scoring with 1:49 to play in the first period on Michel Ouellet's 10th goal of the season. While skating down the left side, Ouellet took a pass from Malkin on a 2-on-1, turned the puck over to his backhand and flipped it past the stick side of Florida goalie Ed Belfour.

The Penguins got some offense from their fourth line 2:39 into the second period when Dominic Moore scored his sixth of the season and only his second since November 20. While alone in the slot, Moore took a pass from Jarkko Ruutu, made a move and beat Belfour high to the glove side to make it 2-0.

After the Panthers committed three penalties in just over a two-minute span, Whitney capped the scoring 10:46 into the third with his ninth of the season on the power play.

"I think we made some mistakes and I think they wanted the game more than us," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "They've got a good team and we gave them too many opportunities. We've got to play a lot better away from the puck and we've got to win more individual battles."

Belfour made 21 saves for Florida, which had its two-game winning streak snapped.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 1 2 0 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - MICHEL OUELLET 10 (EVGENI MALKIN, JORDAN STAAL) 18:11
    2ND PRD: PIT - DOMINIC MOORE 6 (JARKKO RUUTU, RONALD PETROVICKY) 2:39
    PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 9 (MICHEL OUELLET, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    10:46
    3RD PRD: NONE
    POWER-PL

    Jan 30 9:54 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - MICHEL OUELLET 10 (EVGENI MALKIN, JORDAN STAAL) 18:11
    2ND PRD: PIT - DOMINIC MOORE 6 (JARKKO RUUTU, RONALD PETROVICKY) 2:39
    PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 9 (MICHEL OUELLET, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    10:46
    SHOTS ON

    Jan 30 9:04 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    PITTSBURGH 3
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 9 (MICHEL OUELLET, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    10:46

    Panthers vs. PenguinsJan 30 8:50 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    PITTSBURGH 2
    2ND PRD: PIT - DOMINIC MOORE 6 (JARKKO RUUTU, RONALD PETROVICKY) 2:39

    Panthers vs. PenguinsJan 30 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - MICHEL OUELLET 10 (EVGENI MALKIN, MARK RECCHI) 18:11
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLA 9 9
    PIT 10 10
    GOALIES: FLA - ED BELFOUR
    PIT

    Jan 30 8:12 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - MICHEL OUELLET 10 (EVGENI MALKIN, MARK RECCHI) 18:11

    Panthers vs. PenguinsJan 30 8:09 PM