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Fleury makes 46 saves, but can't save Pens

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Even the Los Angeles Kings are wondering how

much better Marc-Andre Fleury can possibly get if he's already this

good at age 18.

Los Angeles spoiled the No. 1 draft pick's otherwise sensational

debut with two special teams goals and the injury-thinned Kings

beat Fleury's Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 Friday night.

Fleury, the top pick in the June entry draft, couldn't have

played much better in his first NHL game, stopping 46 of 48 shots.

But the goaltender's talent-depleted team couldn't have played much

worse, tying a franchise record with only 11 shots.

Fleury gave up a goal on the first shot he faced in the league,

Eric Belanger's short-handed breakaway 38 seconds into the game

after Belanger grabbed the puck from Dick Tarnstrom along the

boards.

"That wasn't a good way to start," Fleury said. "That didn't

help."

Fleury, who was playing junior hockey a year ago, took three or

four strides out of the net to gather himself. He then made one

excellent save after another -- four in one remarkable 15-second

span -- until Trent Klatt scored on the first of nearly consecutive

five-minute Kings power plays late in the second period.

"That was pretty impressive," Klatt said of Fleury, who

reached contract terms only Monday. "He's only 18 years old? That

was pretty good."

Teammate Luc Robitaille, riding a stationary bicycle a few feet

away, raved to anyone who walked by, "Could you believe some of

those saves? That was sick."

Kings coach Andy Murray said, "It is obvious he is a real

talent. You only have one chance to make a first impression in life

and he made a great first impression."

The standing room-only crowd of 16,986 cheered every Fleury

save, standing in unison midway through the second period to give

him an extended ovation while chanting, "Fleur-ry, Fleur-ry." He

got another when he turned aside Esa Pirnes' penalty shot at 17:40

of the third. Ziggy Palffy scored the final Kings goal into an

empty net with 38 seconds remaining.

"I'm happy we didn't give up 10 goals," said Fleury, who said

afterward he was nearly exhausted. "But we're here to win."

The Penguins never were in the game, and had more ejections (2)

than goals (0). Reid Simpson was ejected for checking Lubomir

Visnovsky into the boards at 15:11 of the second, leading to

Klatt's goal. Brooks Orpik was tossed out in the final minute of

the period for leveling Tim Gleason with a knee as they skated

through the neutral zone.

The penalties displayed a lack of discipline that new coach

Eddie Olczyk said the youngest Penguins team in franchise history

must have as it tries to win with youth, speed and a trapping-style

defense designed to limit good scoring chances.

"He (Fleury) played exceptionally well, especially since it

seemed half the time we were short-handed," Olczyk said. "To

bounce back the way he did after that first goal showed a lot of

resiliency."

The Penguins' trouble was they barely got many chances

themselves against backup goalie Cristobal Huet, who got only his

fifth career win. They were outshot 12-2 in the first period and

20-6 in the second and were so woeful offensively that they didn't

get their 10th shot until about eight minutes remained.

Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, playing a personal record 10th

consecutive game without a goal dating to last season, didn't get

his first shot until 7:10 of the third.

The Kings bounced back from a 3-2 loss to Detroit in their

opener Thursday despite missing injured frontliners Jason Allison,

Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller and Mattias Norstrom. Kings center

Sean Avery was away attending Thrashers center Dan Snyder's funeral

Friday in Elmira, Canada. The two were roommates in junior hockey.Game notes
A moment of silence was observed for the late Herb Brooks,

the Penguins' player development director and former U.S. Olympic

hockey coach who died in a summertime car accident. ... Pittsburgh

has lost its last five season openers. The Penguins lost 6-0 to

Toronto last season. ... Rookie forward Ryan Malone became the

first player developed in Pittsburgh amateur hockey to play for the

Penguins. ... The Kings are 7-0-1 against the Penguins since the

1998-99 season. ... Gleason injured his left leg and didn't return,

but team officials said it was not a knee injury. ... Palffy and

Belanger each got their second goals in as many nights. ... Two of

Huet's five victories have been in Pittsburgh. The French-born

goalie got his first career win there on Feb. 25. ... The Penguins

will start their other goalie, Sebastien Caron, Saturday night in

Philadelphia.