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Penguins not surprised by Fleury starting season with shutout, 250th win

Oct 4, 2013, 8:57 AM EDT

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 3: Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is introduced prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils on October 3, 2013 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury entered the 2013-14 campaign with something to prove and he got off to a great start Thursday night. Fleury turned aside 27 shots, including a late third period penalty shot, to pick up his 250th victory and 24th shutout.

It would be tempting to make that event into some grand statement after his disastrous showing in the 2013 playoffs, but the Penguins and Fleury kept level heads with 81 games left to go. They did, however, take this opportunity to assert that they’ve never lost faith in Fleury.

“Sometimes I shake my head at the things I read,” forward Craig Adams said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

“This guy’s a champion. He’s a great teammate. I’m happy for him. He played awesome …

“(But) I don’t think it means as much as you might think. We’ve had confidence and will have confidence in Flower.”

Ultimately it was a strong performance and Fleury’s achieved a significant milestone, but it’s hard to read too much into this start. Fleury has endured four rough playoff runs in a row, but he’s remained strong in the regular season.

Like the rest of the Penguins, Fleury could have a dominant 2013-14 campaign, but that’s not what he’ll be judged on. If he wants to move past the concerns surrounding him, then he’ll need to have some outings like this in the playoffs.

  1. jpelle82 - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    not reading too much into it at all, it was against the devils after all. i will say he weathered the storm well in the 3rd period, made some key saves before and after the penalty shot. the team played well in front of him too though and he really didnt have much to contend with early on

    • 950003cups - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      You might wanna check his record against the Devils in the last six years. This was a big win for him.

      • jpelle82 - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        you mean when the devils were good?

    • joey4id - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      You sir, don’t know much. :-) Couldn’t resist. It was imperative that he not start this year the way the previous ended. Huge huge win psychologically. You seem to know about goalies, so I’m surprised by your negative comment.

  2. basedrum777 - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    He could average a 2.8GAA and still win most games with the Pens. I hope he keeps working to put those demons behind him.

  3. robertsds - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Meaningless games=meaningless wins.
    Lets revisit his performance come playoff time….

    • hockey412 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      There are no meaningless wins. Especially true of the first game of the season.

      • joey4id - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        We have a connaisseur in the house.

    • ntvd7 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      How is this a meaningless win?

      That comment doesn’t even begin to make sense

  4. steelpenbucs87 - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I like Fleury as a player and as a person (the guy is hilarious and has a great reputation off the ice), but unfortunately no one will be ready to say that Fleury is back, or is even making his way back, until the playoffs. This was a good start and I’m glad to see he’s still got some of that athleticism, but we’ll have to wait until April to see for sure.

    • hockey412 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      I hope that is everyone’s take when the guy has a bad game during the year, also. But I do understand what you mean.

      What did look good last night was that for the first time in a long while, he looked like he actually SAW the puck. The defense was still crashing in around him like normal, but for whatever reason he was seeing the puck very well and reacted well with the glove hand (also a return to form in some respects). Needs to not overreact still and jump out of the crease, though. But he may never get that down…that’s not vital either, there’s only so many reasons in a given game to jump out of the crease anyway.

  5. mcphillthy - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Aww man…. No Bryz now?! Boooo!!

  6. f2maestro - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Fleury was seeing the puck well last night & made the save he SHOULD have made. I think the shutout is more indicative of the improvements the Pens seem to have made to their defensive game as well as the offensive quality of the team they were facing. I’m not reading into this too much and certainly not sipping on the ‘Fleury is back to his old self’ Koolaid.

    For me, it will take a long time to ‘forget’ about the last few years of Playoff blunders & restore confidence in Fleury.

    • hockey412 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      We’ll let him know. 😦

      Just kidding bud – I know what you mean.

    • miketoasty - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      Heh, you are exactly what all the morning shows were talking about this morning in Pittsburgh. No credit given to Fleury when he wins, and all the blame on him when he loses.

      I guess gloving the puck from behind your back is a standard save? Not saying I’m jumping on the bandwagon either, but give credit were credit is due.

  7. bgrillz - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    3 runs in a row. That series against Tampa he was outstanding. Especially in game 7. The Pens had no scoring whatsoever.

    • blitzrunner29 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      He was outstanding for a good portion of the Tampa series, but not for the duration. He got pulled in game 5 and wasn’t particularly good in games 2 and 6. The Penguins needed him to be great in at least 4 of those games, and he was…..they just couldn’t score in game 7.

  8. lamentor79 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    The Pens certainly are not a defense-oriented team. Hence, their goaltenders will likely never be near the top of the list in GAA/save percentage. Put Fleury on the Bruins squad and you’ll see his numbers drop by 1/2 goal per game. He does his job; has the Penguin offense performed up to its standard in the playoffs? It’s a team effort, so they all get credit or all accept some level of accountability for their results.

  9. stakex - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    The Devils very well could be the worst team in the NHL this season, especially on the offensive side of things…. so its a REALLY bad idea to read anything into this.

    • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      Looked like Henry couldn’t save a beach ball last night …

      I guess when your pads are smaller and you don’t have 5 guys focusing their entire shifts to block the puck for you … it makes a little bit of a difference.


    • 950003cups - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Devils lack star power, yes. But they’ll whoop your Henrietta on the 19th bad. He’ll have more rubber in his 5 hole than his last night drinking with Avery.

  10. pitpenguinsrulez - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    I love seeing @Stakex spew his garbage on here…honestly man what you say is all crap. Nobody cares about what you say. Jersey is the worst? That’s laughable

  11. robertsds - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    MaF has been good during the season his failings come playoff time… Meaningless for him in that it was a game he should have done well and won.
    Again, his deamons come from his playoff failures and people will not stop questioning his ability until the playoffs.

    • 950003cups - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      MAF had to pick last night to stand on his head? He’ll looked like the MAF of 2009. If he keeps it up night in and night out, the Pens will be very thrilled. Can’t blame last in Crosby and Malkin scoring for his mistakes.

      It was
      Cory = 3
      Fleury = UGOTZ

  12. jhuck92 - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Savor it now, Pens fans. This is why I picked him up in my fantasy league, but I’m glad the league doesn’t continue into the postseason.

  13. killerpgh - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    MAF seems to start the season off slow the past few years. So last night was a good things.

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