BOSTON – Marc Andre-Fleury hardly looked like a goalie who had just finished a highly intense third period.
Fleury, back in net after getting a night off, made 28 saves and Evgeni Malkin scored a power-play goal that lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Boston Bruins 2-1 Saturday for their ninth win in 10 games.
“Just came off a five-day break,” said Fleury, sitting with a baseball cap on backward and smiling frequently. “It was nice to get back.”
Matt Cooke had the other goal for the Penguins, who rebounded from a 1-0 loss at Toronto on Wednesday that ended a season-high eight-game winning streak.
Until he got additional rest after the all-star break, Fleury had played in 23 straight game. The break may’ve been what he needed after allowing four goals twice in four games.
“Marc was exceptional,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “He was able to control the rebounds and limit the opportunities they had.”
The only goal the Bruins got past him was a shot he couldn’t see.
Joe Corvo scored Boston’s goal, and Tim Thomas stopped 26 shots. The Bruins hadn’t lost consecutive games since early December and had not dropped two in a row at home since late October.
Corvo’s goal on a seemingly harmless shot from the point beat Fleury 6:45 into the third, cutting it to 2-1.
From there, the Penguins defence helped make Fleury’s day a bit easier, blocking a number of shots.
“They got a goal to cut it to one and every player had to play good team defence,” Bylsma said.
Boston was blanked by Carolina 3-0 on Thursday. The Bruins have lost six of 10.
“Obviously, I think we’ve been getting a lot of chances,” Boston centre Tyler Seguin said. “We had so many chances—I don’t know if we’re running into hot goaltenders or we’re just not getting enough people in front of the net, but we have to figure out a way to score some more goals.”
The Penguins took a 1-0 lead on Malkin’s power play goal with 9 seconds left in the opening period. James Neal fired a shot from the point and Chris Kunitz, positioned in front, jammed at the rebound before it slid over to Malkin, who fired it past Thomas.
The Malkin-Neal-Kunitz line has been carrying the Penguins for nearly two months, scoring 35 of the team’s 67 goals.
Cooke scored at 1:53 into the third when Thomas attempted to clear the rebound but mishandled the puck in the crease. Cooke was booed briefly—as he is nearly all the time by the TD Garden crowd.
Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard in March 2010 sidelined the centre with a concussion. Savard missed most of last season and has been out all this year with post-concussion symptoms.
Corvo’s goal was his first since Dec. 10 and just his third of the season, snapping the Bruins’ scoreless stretch at 119 minutes 36 seconds.
After Corvo’s goal, the Bruins controlled play but had limited chances. Seguin split the defencemen and get a short wrist shot on Fleury with two minutes left.
“I think the fact that we were better tonight than we were the other night is an improvement,” said Boston coach Claude Julien, who switched his lines in the third period. “I thought we played a lot harder than we had.”
Boston’s top line didn’t have a shot on goal in the game.
The Bruins had a four-minute power play after Pascal Dupuis’ high-stick cut Brad Marchand in the second period. Boston was limited to five shots on goal, with its best chance coming when Seguin sent a cross-ice pass to Corvo. But Fleury slid across to make the save.
NOTES: Pittsburgh C Sidney Crosby, out since early December, was with the team and skated in the morning. … F Cal O’Reilly, claimed off waivers from Phoenix on Wednesday, made his Penguins debut. … Bruins F Nathan Horton missed his fourth straight with a mild concussion. … Bruins LW Daniel Paille went flying through the air and his stick went as well after a mid-ice collision with Pittsburgh D Brooks Orpik. … The Bruins play eight of their next 10 on the road. … Julien said D Dennis Seidenberg took “close to 20 stitches” after he suffered a sustained an undisclosed injury and left the bench early inthe third. But he returned later. Corvo was also injured and returned.