Fleury collects career win No. 300 in crucial game against Bruins
BOSTON — If Marc-Andre Fleury, for whatever reason, planned to stop any more hockey pucks late Monday night, chances are the results would have been disastrous.
Shaving cream in the eyes generally doesn’t help improve vision.
And Fleury had it in his eyes, on his face, on his shirt and on his pads — his leg pads went straight to the washing machine — as a result of celebrating win No. 300, a 3-2 overtime defeat of the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
“I don’t know who did it,” Fleury said, “but when I find out, there’s going to be some payback.”
At 29 years, 361 days, Fleury is the third-fastest goalie in NHL history to 300 wins, and he coincidentally did it in the birth city of the Penguins’ other goaltending luminary, Tom Barrasso.
Martin Brodeur (29 years, 223 days) and Terry Sawchuck (29 years, 323 days) are the only goalies to reach the threshold faster.
“It’s tough to realize,” Fleury said. “It’s something I’m happy about and proud of. I’ve been fortunate to play with good teams.”
Make no mistake, Fleury has had prettier wins.
At least 32 of them, counting the Penguins goaltender’s career shutouts.
But one would be hard-pressed to find a more crucial win for Fleury and the Penguins, who had been dumped in back-to-back games against the Islanders, the second a lopsided 4-1 defeat.
Lines were shuffled. Frustrations were aired, meetings held and promises made. A three-game losing streak loomed.
Except Fleury, who stopped 27 of 29 shots and steadied himself after a rocky start to the second period, was having none of that, and ran his record to 6-2-2 in 10 career starts at TD Garden.
“It’s pretty cool,” center Brandon Sutter said. “I didn’t know he was the third-youngest goalie to do it. That’s a lot of wins. For a guy that age to have that is pretty special. I’m sure it’s been weighing on his mind since he hit 297 and 298. We’re happy he got it here tonight. It’s a big one for him.”
Evgeni Malkin scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner 32 seconds into overtime.
Captain Sidney Crosby added a goal — his second in 12 games — and two assists, while Kris Letang contributed a pair of assists. Craig Adams assisted on Crosby’s first period goal for his 100th NHL assist.
The Penguins (14-4-2) improved to 8-1-1 in their past 10 games against Boston and 7-1-1 over their past nine visits to TD Garden.
They took the first of the three-game season series, which continues Jan. 7 at Consol Energy Center.
Monday’s game marked the seventh consecutive regular season contest between the Bruins and Penguins that was decided by one goal.
Malkin has at least a point in 17 of the Penguins’ 20 games this season, and his power-play goal in the second pushed him into a three-way tie for the NHL lead in that category.
But while many of the Penguins’ regulars had a hand in the win, this night belonged to the franchise’s longest-tenured player. Arguably its most well-liked and personable, too.
“We wanted to get it before this game, but I think it was a great team win,” Letang said. “We’re all really happy for a guy like him on our team, a leader on our team. The guy’s been working hard. We’re just really happy to see him get No. 300.”