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Yet his most important play might have been one he didn't make after watching teammate Matt Cooke crash into Smith at the other end of the ice.
Smith started punching Cooke as the forward laid on Smith's stick. Soon the goal mouth was filled with players.
Not Fleury, who ignored pleas from the crowd to skate over and jump in. Instead he remained in his crouch 150 feet away. With veteran backup Brent Johnson out because of an illness, and only rookie Brad Thiessen on the bench, Fleury understands he can't take any chances.
Fleury's only hiccup came early in the third on Whitney's 21st goal. Radim Vrbata slipped a pass from the corner to the front of the net and found Whitney, who easily slid a shot past the lunging goalie.
It was a rare misstep for Fleury, who held on in the third despite a pair of late power plays for the Coyotes.
"He's been great all season long and he's the reason why we're up there in the standings," Michalek said of Fleury. "We can rely on him every single night. They came at us hard. He made so many unbelievable saves."
The Penguins needed every one to improve to 12-2-3 against Western Conference opponents. Fleury has stopped 163 of the last 168 shots he has faced, a .970 save percentage.
"It's a one-goal game, and you wish one of those shots would get by," Vrbata said. "He's a good goalie. That's his job to stop us."
NOTES: Pittsburgh D Kris Letang missed his second straight game due to concussion-like symptoms. The Penguins recalled Brian Strait from Wilkes-Barre of the AHL to fill in. ... The Penguins also scratched defenseman Deryk Engelland and forwards Eric Tangradi and Dustin Jeffrey. ... Forward Gilbert Brule and defenseman Michael Stone were scratched by the Coyotes . ... Phoenix will play at Columbus on Tuesday.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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