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Bury Your Narratives. Penguins 2, Rangers 0 (Recap)

Fleury extends his shutout streak to two games and Penguins gain the series lead.

Bruce Bennett

Marc-Andre Fleury had four straight bad postseasons to build his reputation as a playoff bust, so two good games aren't going to change the narrative overnight (and oh, the narrative, she persists).

Two good games are enough, however, to flip the balance of power in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, as the Penguins rode Fleury and another all-around good defensive game to a 2-0 win over the New York Rangers and a 2-1 series lead.

Jussi Jokinen and Sidney Crosby scored for Pittsburgh, which has now shut out the Rangers in consecutive games to take back home-ice advantage after dropping Game 1 in overtime at home.

"This is the best I've seen [Fleury] play," Matt Niskanen said. "The last two nights, he's been so good. He's been really good since I've been in Pittsburgh. He's won a ton of hockey games, made a ton of highlight reel saves.

"But the last two nights have been different."

Fleury is an embattled goalie in forms both real and imagined, but his work in the second round should help to begin restoring his reputation.

After a series of late-game gaffes in Game 4 against Columbus, Fleury has allowed just six goals in his last five games, including the consecutive shutouts in Games 2 and 3.

In those shutouts, Fleury has stopped 57 straight shots and helped to kill off nine Rangers power plays.

Pittsburgh's penalty kill is now 13-for-13 against the Rangers after allowing seven power play goals in six games in the first round, though that may be due as much to the ineptitude of the New York man-advantage team (which has not scored in eight straight games and more than 30 chances).

Whether or not the Rangers power play is as bad as it looks, Fleury was there to help make sure the unit stayed out of the equation.

A day after taking the franchise lead in all-time postseason shutouts, Fleury extended his team record and earned another one, becoming the first Penguins goalie to post back-to-back shutouts in the postseason.

His line on the postseason now reads 2.22 / 9.25. His six wins are tied for the NHL lead, his two shutouts are the NHL lead, and each of his three losses this postseason have come in overtime.

The Penguins have now won four of five, and Fleury has allowed 1 or 0 goals in three of those five wins.

And speaking of narrative-busters.

Sidney Crosby scored his first of the postseason, nine games in, earning the game-winner with his second-period breakaway tally against Henrik Lundqvist.

Crosby's tally finally came through in a game in which he endured an undue amount of punishment, including several blatant stick infractions by Rangers' defenseman Marc Staal.

Infractions that should result in a call from the Player Safety Department, if anything is right and just in the NHL's world.

Nonetheless, Crosby's first of the postseason was a big one, and one of just two goals scored by the Penguins on a night where they tallied just 15 total shots on goal.

Pittsburgh managed only one shot in the final frame, but fell into a defensive posture that kept the Rangers from getting back into the contest.

The Penguins have been derided for plenty this offseason -- Crosby's lack of scoring, Fleury's lack of composure, the defense's lack of defense, the team's lack of late-game killer instinct. So on, so on.

Two good games against a Rangers team with serious offensive issues isn't what it takes to prove the Penguins have fully morphed into the shot-blocking, low-scoring playoff trope that no one expects they can become.

But it's enough to take control of the series. Really, what else does anyone want?

Audio courtesy Ali Doyle & Pittsburgh Penguins.