Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been one of the bright spots through all the Penguins’ struggles this season, and Fleury nearly stole a victory for Pittsburgh Wednesday in the second half of a home-and-home with the Chicago Blackhawks.
In the contest, Fleury made a number of outstanding saves, including an early stop on defenseman Erik Gustafsson and a breakaway stop on Andrew Shaw. But the highlight of Fleury’s game came in the second period when he somehow turned aside a shot from Chicago blueliner Trevor van Riemsdyk.
After the Blackhawks had forced a turnover deep in Pittsburgh’s zone, Patrick Kane had a good look on goal that was stopped by Fleury and the puck ended up behind the Penguins’ net. Jonathan Toews swooped behind the goal and stripped Olli Maatta of the puck and patiently waited before putting the puck perfectly on the stick of van Riemsdyk. He let go a shot that was labelled for the back of the net, but Fleury struck out his blocker and stick to send the puck sailing into the netting behind the goal:
van Riemsdyk laying on the ice after the save sums up how great Fleury’s save was. The 24-year-old defenseman is so awestruck that he was stopped that he won’t even get to his feet for a brief moment.
When the replay is slowed down, you can see Fleury actually stops the puck with the shaft of his stick, not his blocker, and that makes it even better and, honestly, even luckier. It’s great to see Fleury laughing about the stop immediately after he makes it, too. Nothing better than making a save so good you even surprise yourself.
Fleury’s effort wouldn’t be rewarded Wednesday night, however. Blackhawks rookie Artemi Panarin scored in the third period and Teuvo Teravainen added an empty-netter as Chicago skated to a 3-1 victory.