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Penguins’ Fleury in mid-season form with excellent paddle save on Red Wings’ Pulkkinen

Marc-Andre Fleury is going to need all the saves he can get — both routine and highlight-reel stops — in order to lay claim to the starting job in Pittsburgh once Matt Murray returns from injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is coming off of arguably the best season of his entire career, and he looks prepared for a crease battle throughout the upcoming campaign. If you’re not convinced, though, you could always ask Detroit Red Wings winger Teemu Pulkkinen about Fleury’s readiness.

Pulkkinen would know better than almost anyone following Wednesday’s game between the Penguins and Red Wings, too, because it was Fleury who stole a goal from Pulkkinen in the pre-season tilt. 

Late in the second period, with the Red Wings leading 2-1 and on the power play, Detroit managed to win a puck battle behind the Pittsburgh net and work the puck out front. Evgeny Svechnikov moved the puck to Gustav Nyquist, who then set up a one-timer from the back end. Fleury made the first stop with ease, but the rebound was whacked at by Svechnikov, sending it right to an uncovered Pulkkinen, who had an entire net to shoot at. 

What should have been a goal turned into a spectacular save as Fleury dove across:

The stop by Fleury was one of 25 he made on the night and undoubtedly his best as the Red Wings skated to a 5-2 victory. And while the final score may not breed much confidence, that Fleury is showing acrobatics like his stop on Pulkkinen so early in the season can be a great thing for the Penguins, and even better for Fleury.

For the first time in several seasons, Fleury is going to have to really work to secure the starting job and ward off young goaltending star Matt Murray. Fleury has never had a 1A-1B situation like this during his time in Pittsburgh, and he’s no doubt hoping that he becomes the 1A of the duo. Making more highlight reel saves is definitely one way for Fleury to keep himself a step ahead of his competition.

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