PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Penguins and Flames treated their rare
meeting as a playoff game. Marc-Andre Fleury certainly played
as if the stakes were that high.
Fleury made 31 saves for his fourth shutout of the season, and
Pittsburgh kept pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race with
a 2-0 win over Calgary on Wednesday night.
"It's like playoff hockey right now, with how that game was,"
Fleury said. "Every goal was big and every save was big."
Fleury was responsible for several of the latter, defensemen
Kris Letang and Hal Gill the former for the Penguins, who
improved to 4-1-1 on their franchise-record eight-game
homestand. Evgeni Malkin had an assist, giving him 106 points
and extending his NHL scoring lead to 10 points.
After having its 12-game points streak snapped in a 3-1 loss to
Philadelphia on Sunday, Pittsburgh beat the Flames in a
spirited, hard-hitting, end-to-end contest to take over sole
possession of sixth place in the conference with 88 points - a
point behind Carolina and two behind Philadelphia.
The Flames - playing in Pittsburgh for the first time since
December 5, 2005 - remained three points ahead of idle Vancouver
atop the Northwest Division.
Facing the team ranked second in the league in goals per game,
Fleury earned his 15th career shutout. He has allowed only 20
goals in 11 starts this month.
"He played unbelievable," Pittsburgh center Jordan Staal said.
"He was there for every save."
Some of the Flames' best chances came during their five
power-play opportunities, including a four-minute chance that
spanned the second intermission after Malkin was penalized for
high-sticking Jim Vandermeer.
"The difference for us was not being able to score on the power
play," Calgary coach Mike Keenan said. "When you get five
opportunities and you come up with nothing, you're not going to
win a hockey game on the road."
Fleury stopped David Moss from in close during that power play
and denied Curtis Glencross at least three times throughout the
course of the game on chances from in front of the net. Another
of Fleury's better saves was on Calgary goals leader Michael
Cammalleri on a rebound of Olli Jokinen's shot.
"Special teams are a big part of it, and they beat us in that
area tonight," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. "For the most
part, it was a one-goal game the whole time, and if we get one
there (on the four-minute power play) going into the third, 1-1
is a solid spot to be in on the road. And we didn't get it
Letang got the only goal Pittsburgh would need, his ninth, 8:20
into the contest, when he slammed home a puck while on the power
play and wide open to the right of Flames goalie Miikka
Malkin began the play with a slap shot from the right circle.
The rebound came to Sidney Crosby, who was standing on the goal
line on that side. He slid a pass through the crease to Letang.
Letang has four goals this month and eight in his past 24 games.
He has 10 points in 14 games under interim coach Dan Bylsma.
Gill, a 6-foot-7 defensive defenseman with only 31 goals in 845
career games, had to have one of his prettiest 6:43 into the
third after Malkin carried the puck down the right wing into the
Calgary end and left it for Gill.
Gill's second of the season was a wrist shot from high in the
right circle that beat Kiprusoff on his stick side, perfectly
placed into the top-left corner just inside the crossbar and
When asked if he had a particular spot in mind when he let the
puck go, Gill deadpanned, "Yep, the net."
"It's fun to score goals," he added. "These guys like Geno
(Malkin) do it all the time, but you know, for me, it doesn't
happen very often."
The Penguins are 13-2-3 since Bylsma took over for the fired
Michel Therrien on February 15.
"Everyone's contributing right now, that's the big thing," Staal
said. "That's playoff hockey, and that's what we're looking