Kaprizov scores, Wild beat Penguins as Fleury is honoured
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Kirill Kaprizov scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period and Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves as the Minnesota Wild beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on Friday night.
Fleury, who earned his 553rd career win, was honored in a pregame ceremony nearly a month after passing Patrick Roy (551) for second place in NHL history. He trails only Martin Brodeur, who has 691 wins.
“It was a big difference in the game,” Wild coach John Hynes said of Fleury. “Then the way the players play in front of him. It's fun to be involved in that and see how much he battles and how much he means to the team."
With the team that drafted Fleury first overall in 2003 and where he won three Stanley Cups looking on, including former teammates still in Pittsburgh, the Wild honored Fleury with a video tribute and the goalie was given a silver, engraved stick noting his topping 1,000 games played, a $5,000 donation to a charity of Fleury’s choice and a souvenir mask with each of the four teams he played on.
“I’m happy it’s over,” Fleury said. “I was a little nervous for it. I feel like I’ve gotten softer and softer with the years and then seeing my kids on the ice and on the jumbotron talking, too; old teammates. I don’t know, it gets me.”
“He made some big saves,” Crosby said of Fleury. "I thought they did a great job recognizing what he’s accomplished. It was great to be a part of that, but you still want to have the bragging rights at the end of the night.”
With all eyes on Fleury and the fans providing several “Fleury” chants, he held strong back in net for the first time in five games after being sidelined by an upper-body injury.
Boldy had the lone goal in the first period, scoring his 17th of the season — a power-play goal with 7:03 remaining.
Smith, in his second game back after missing time with an upper-body injury, scored his ninth of the season at 2:54 of the second to tie it. It was Smith’s first goal since Dec. 18, a span of 11 games.
Brodin scored his second of the year at 6:12. With Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust and Kaprizov in the penalty box for matching unsportsmanlike penalties, Brodin took advantage of the extra ice on a 4-on-4 to score a spinning goal right in front of the net.
Crosby, who earlier in the day gifted a painting to Fleury, scored 1:01 into the third, deflecting a point shot from Erik Karlsson into an open net on the side of Fleury to tie it again.
“That’s what matters always, the win, but I had him a couple times in the second,” Fleury said. “I was happy about that. And then he scored, had a good celebration too. Geez.”
Kaprizov’s game-winner at 9:34 of the third was ruled good after an extended replay in which Pittsburgh tried to rule that the puck had left the ice before the score.
“I clearly don’t agree with it, otherwise I wouldn’t have challenged it,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "Every player on the ice saw it, even their players. So, they thought it was inconclusive. We felt like there was an angle that showed the puck clearly changed direction and every player on the rink saw it.”
Penguins: At Winnipeg on Saturday night to finish a back-to-back set.
Wild: At Vegas on Monday night.
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