During the 2016-2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, Pittsburgh Penguins fans knew that it was very likely Marc-André Fleury’s last season in net with the team. Only one goaltender out of the tandem could be protected in the upcoming expansion draft for the Vegas Golden Knights. With a red-hot, young Matt Murray on the cusp of his 23rd birthday, it made sense that the 32-year-old Fleury would be left unprotected ahead of the draft.
However, no one could predict when his last game would be. Fleury was pulled in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final in Ottawa after allowing four goals early. While his performance in Game 3 ended his career as a Penguin with a whimper instead of a bang, his performance in Game 2 was the rock-solid goaltending that Penguins fans should remember him for.
The second game of the matchup between Pittsburgh and the Ottawa Senators was a tight race from puck drop to the final horn. The score remained 0-0 until a wicked goal from Phil Kessel late in the third period. That the score remained even was thanks in large part to Fleury’s goaltending against the heavy push by the Senators’ offensive unit.
In 60 minutes of play, Fleury saved all 23 shots, including shots like this one by Mark Stone:
Fleury didn’t get flustered when the Senators crowded his crease either, as his pad save here demonstrates his immensely calm reaction under a blitz of forwards:
The game ended 1-0 in favor of the Penguins and was Fleury’s last shutout in net for Pittsburgh. All three periods of play featured save after jaw-dropping save from him, as if he were putting on one final master class in goaltending for Pittsburgh and its fans.
Personally, I couldn’t think of a better last full game for the man who will always be Pittsburgh’s favorite Flower.
You can find a comprehensive recap of the game, complete with several more breathtaking saves by Fleury, here.