Sure, those 31 saves Marc-Andre Fleury made were important. The Penguins' 4-3 overtime victory Friday night against Carolina at PNC Arena simply would not have been possible without them. But Fleury's biggest contribution might have been an uncredited assist he earned with a split-second decision in the first minute of the extra period, for it allowed teammate James Neal to score the goal that ended the game. Fleury had taken a shot from Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekara off the right collarbone/neck area 46 seconds into overtime and was visibly shaken up by it. So much so that a referee was willing to stop play so that Fleury could be examined by a trainer. Or, at the very least, gather himself. But Fleury was aware of what was developing in front of him, the way the Penguins were moving toward Carolina's end of the rink, and let the official know, quite emphatically, that there was no need for a whistle. "I saw we had the puck," Fleury said. "So, I told him, 'I'm OK, I'm OK, I'm OK.' " Whether Fleury -- who said Sekera's shot caused him to have a bit of trouble breathing -- actually was OK at that point isn't clear, but he surely felt much better a few seconds later, when Neal took a pass from Jussi Jokinen and beat Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters from the left hash to give the Penguins (28-11-1) their eighth victory in the past nine games.
Neal lifts Pens to win over 'Canes with OT goal
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Dec 28