Penguins 3, Flames 1: On Marc-Andre Fleury And Wes Anderson

When someone asks me if a Wes Anderson movie was “funny,” I usually respond with unnatural, waffling analytical half-statements like “I guess it was… kind of… well this one part was kinda weird, but in a funny — well not “ha ha” funny but like, pleasant, and like… there’s some quirky… like… there aren’t really ‘jokes’, but there’s… I mean, I love Bill Murray, and in this movie he’s… interesting…”

But when I see a movie that’s actually funny (at least by regular human definition), and someone asks me if it was funny, I just say “Yeah, it’s really really funny.”

Similarly, when Marc-Andre Fleury is struggling, I go into “describing Wes Anderson comedy” mode to defend his play, always wondering if I’m being too harsh on him for looking at a “4 goals on 24 shots” stat and immediately criticizing him without reflection, with statements like:

“I guess that first one got deflected, so that’s bad luck… Ehhh, I guess he could’ve covered that one rebound but the D should’ve tied the guy up in front… That third one wasn’t a great shot to give up, but it was a 3-on-2, so I guess it’s not… totally Fleury…”

But when Marc-Andre Fleury is playing well, like he did against Calgary Wednesday night and against Toronto on Saturday, I don’t have to qualify any statements or co-criticize the Pens’ D, I can just straight-out say without having to think that “Fleury played really, really well.”

With 37 saves on 38 shots — including more than a few near tap-in chances — Fleury absolutely stole a win last night for the second time in the Pens’ last three games. Here’s hoping Fleury’s turned the corner and I won’t have to drag out my Wes Anderson descriptions anymore, if only because I hate speaking when I don’t even know what I’m trying to say (though you’d be surprised how often this happens). Marc-Andre – please just be Superbad.

Other thoughts on last night’s game, including Crosby’s 30th goal:

— You know who’s good? Sidney Crosby:

— The Flames seem to be missing a bona fide goal-scorer after Jarome Iginla, who’s been way off his game lately. Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque are both solid , but can this group really stack up against Thornton / Heatley / Marleau, Kane / Toews / Hossa, or even Datsyuk / Zetterberg / (eventual) Franzen?

— Speaking of depth, the Flames’ vaunted blue line seems to have taken an odd sideways step this year. I thought Dion Phaneuf, Jay Bouwmeester, and Robyn Regehr all could’ve conceivably ended up on the Team Canada roster, and thought the first two were locks, but none of the three ended up making the cut, due (presumably) to their undistinguished play this season (extra odd considering Bouwmeester wouldn’t have to go against Crosby in the Olympics and thus get intenationally owned). What happened to Phaneuf, especially? A year ago he was in the “who would you pick to start a franchise” discussion right after Crosby and Ovechkin, and now he’s not even a Top 8 Canadian defenseman? I haven’t watched Calgary enough this season to know what the dealio is (still an expression, dammit!) but I wouldn’t be surprised if Regehr gets dealt before the deadline this year. Possibly something Kovalchuk related?

— Couple iffy calls in the second and third; Nigel Dawes’ hold of Mike Rupp wasn’t anything, and smacked of the “New NHL Ref proving he’ll call a couple in a row on the same team because he’s so impartial and not just gonna even everything up,” then it was followed by Sergei Gonchar getting called for a non-hook in the third, thus evening up the penalties anyway.

— The Flames really fell apart late in the third after failing to score on the last Gonchar penalty. Leading up to Tyler Kennedy’s goal, there was a sequence where the Flames just seemed to have accepted defeat, and the Pens missed two or three incredible chances before Kennedy nailed the coffin shut.

— And last, but definitely not least…The Pens power play scored a goal. At an important time. Then this happened. That’s actual footage from the Saddledome last night, for the record.

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