Fleury Calm in Surprise Start for Penguins

Apr 16, 2017, 00:21
Fleury Calm in Surprise Start for Penguins

Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists, Marc-Andre Fleury stayed sharp in his second straight playoff start and the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled away for a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.

Pittsburgh needed to adjust on the fly before game 1 started on Wednesday Night. Pittsburgh Penguins' Nick Bonino (13) celebrates his goal with Patric Hornqvist (72) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL first-round hockey playoff series in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The visiting team kept the Penguins from notching a single shot on goal until 8:31 into the first period, but that first shot went in the net.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are headed home facing a 2-0 deficit in their best-of-seven series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Despite that gaffe he made in Game 4 of the 2014 series, the Blue Jackets have yet to beat Fleury in regulation.

After center Evgeni Malkin controlled the puck at the blue line along the near boards, he sent a pass across the ice to right winger Phil Kessel.

That point came about 20 minutes before the opening faceoff, when Murray appeared to tweak something while stretching to make a save during his usual pregame routine.

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And, after watching Matt Calvert try to break Tom Kunhackl's neck, I'm not sure the Penguins need any more motivation to close this series out in four games.

"We played a good game, but we have to find a way to get it done", Brandon Dubinsky said.

Last spring, the Pittsburgh Penguins got that from a 21-year-old Matt Murray en route to a Cup win. The Sharks made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals previous year before losing to Pittsburgh.

"I thought if I could get on (Bobrovsky) quick he'd have to make a quick decision", Sheary said. They don't get sucked into stupidity.

Columbus, one of the more physical teams in the league, briefly lost its cool late. The Blue Jackets are averaging three goals per game and are scoring on 19.9 percent of their power play opportunities. Dealing Fleury would not only clear the way for Murray, but it would also get Fleury's contract, which carries a cap hit of $5.75 million through 2019, off the books. Considering how comfortable Fleury looked while tying a club record by making his 101st playoff appearance, there's no hurry to rush Murray back out there. Once the Blue Jackets go soft or even think about taking their foot off the throttle, the Pens will respond.