PITTSBURGH — With an audible laugh, Marc-Andre Fleury could only shake his head and smile when recalling two of his most acrobatic saves in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ playoff-opening win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Lightning players were shaking their heads, too — in frustration, as Fleury stood tall and backstopped the Penguins’ 3-0 victory Wednesday night.
Fleury made 32 saves — including a stop on Ryan Malone with his back to the play — to stymie a Lightning team that finished second in the Eastern Conference with 247 goals.
His effort gave the slow-starting Penguins time to get in gear, with an offense that remains minus injured stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Alex Kovalev and Arron Asham scored third-period goals 18 seconds apart to help the Penguins win the first playoff game in their new arena. Fleury was the star and was treated that way afterward, leaving the ice to fans chanting his last name and “MVP! MVP.”
“Whatever needs to be done,” Fleury said of his fifth playoff shutout, which pushed him to within one of tying Tom Barrasso’s franchise record. “I just tried to do my thing, and the players up front got some big goals for us and it worked out all right.”