FLEURY EXCITED TO BE BACK IN PITTSBURGH
Looking for a boost in goal, the Pittsburgh Penguins will use some Flower Power.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who has the nickname “Flower,” is back in Pittsburgh for the third time this season – and he’s hoping to stay.
“I was just happy to find out I could come here,” he said. “My job is to stop the puck, so if I can make key saves and be solid in the net when I play, that’s the best I can do and hopefully that will help the guys get the win.”
The Penguins have given up the most goals in the NHL (103) heading into Tuesday’s home game against Buffalo. They hope Fleury can help minimize that number.
“If he plays the way he did the last time he was here, we’ll be more than happy,” Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said.
Fleury was stellar in his last game for the Penguins on Nov. 16 in Philadelphia. He stopped 45 of 47 shots as the Penguins won, 3-2, in overtime. It was only Pittsburgh’s third win in Philadelphia since the end of the 1993-94 season.
Fleury wasn’t even supposed to start that game in Philadelphia until Jocelyn Thibault was hit in the throat with a shot during warm-ups.
“I was pretty happy with the game,” he said. “To get the win was pretty exciting.”
Prior to Tuesday’s game, Fleury had played in four games with the Penguins this season. He had a 1-1-1 record with a 3.40 goals-against average and .913 save percentage. With Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he is 10-0-2-0 this season with a 1.57 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.
However, Pittsburgh is where the 2003 first-overall pick wants to remain permanently.
“Maybe the first time I got sent down, it was a little bit tough. I was a little bit disappointed. The last time, I knew was just coming up for a short time. I have been living out of my suitcase a lot,” he said. “Hopefully, I will be here a little bit more than a week. We’ll see what they want to do. I cannot decide any of this. When I have a chance to play, I want to play hard and hopefully they will keep me here longer.”
The Penguins placed Thibault on waivers Tuesday. He may remain with the team or be reassigned if he is not claimed by another team by Wednesday afternoon.
“We’ll see what happens [Wednesday] at noon and kind of go from there. Things change and supply and demand changes out there every day,” Olczyk said. “[General manager] Craig [Patrick] will make that decision on his assignment. He could be around and play sometime soon. We’ll know a lot better around noon [Wednesday]. We can’t do anything until then.”