Fleury Saves the Day for Penguins

Scott BarnerContributor IApril 21, 2009

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 17:  Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins answers reporters' questions at the post game press conference after Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 17, 2009 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The Penguins have Marc Andre Fleury to thank for tonight's victory. Fleury played one of, if not the best, game(s) of his NHL career. He was stellar in the net tonight, turning away 45 of 46 shots tonight in the Penguins' 3-1 victory against the Philly Flyers.

Nothing more could have been asked of Fleury tonight. He weathered eight power plays tonight and the only blemish came when a Flyer was knocked into the net by Brooks Orpik, knocking Fleury out of position. Fleury was in position and flashed the glove perfectly tonight.

I have to admit that I've been critical of Marc Andre in the past. I even wrote an article earlier this year wondering if maybe it is time to give up on him and shop him around. Well, if Fleury keeps his play as consistent as he has down this stretch, I'll gladly have to eat my words.

It has been said that hot goal-tending is what gets you to the Stanley Cup Finals. Well, if Fleury continues at this pace, the Penguins have a good chance to really advance far into the race for Lord Stanley's Cup.

Marc Andre will and should give a little of the credit tonight to Mark Scuderi, one of his top notch defensemen. Scuderi blocked some key shots tonight and cleared the puck out of the Penguin end, with his usual efficient style.  

If the Penguins can wrap up the series in Pittsburgh on Thursday night, this will afford Fleury and the rest of the Penguins a chance for a much-needed rest going into the next round of the playoffs.

The Penguins, as a team, will have to work on not getting into penalty trouble as they did tonight. If Fleury didn't play out of his mind, this game could have been a blowout in favor of the Flyers. The Pens also have to work on scoring when both teams are at even strength.

If the Penguins can stay out of the penalty box on Thursday night and keep their heads about them, they will be able to take full advantage of a desperate Flyers team that will take bad penalties out of frustration.

If the Pens can get the first goal early, the Flyers will revert back to the only game they know, and take stupid penalties. Then, if the hot power play for the Penguins can light up the scoreboard, Marc Andre Fleury can have an easier night.

Then, on to the next round...let's hope!