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Fleury’s busy start to Game 3 includes huge stop on Ovechkin

Marc-Andre Fleury robs Alex Ovechkin of an early goal for the Capitals in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Sometimes it’s tempting to boil the 2018 Stanley Cup Final down to Alex Ovechkin versus Marc-Andre Fleury, even though it’s far more than that. The early stages of Game 3 explain some of those urges.

Ovechkin has been buzzing so far in his first home Stanley Cup Final contest, but perhaps “MAF” was feeling some envy from all the attention Braden Holtby received - Pat Sajak mentioned it during his introduction - for his Game 2 stop on Alex Tuch. During the early moments of Game 3, Fleury made a sprawling save on a great one-timer chance as Evgeny Kuznetsov set up Ovechkin for what sure looked like a goal in the making.

(Kuznetsov was shaken up early on. He seems to be OK, or at least “playoff OK.”)

Add this to the growing number of great Fleury-on-Ovechkin saves, though this one wasn’t as crucial as his two memorable stops from two different Game 7 situations.

That great save wasn’t the only noteworthy moment involving Fleury. The Capitals seemingly made it 1-0, but the play was called off thanks to interference by Devante Smith-Pelly, who was also penalized.

Smith-Pelly was shown mixing it up with Fleury later on in the first period, so the tough forward clearly wasn’t happy with the call.

Fleury is worth monitoring as the night and series goes on, as his concussion history makes any collision a cause for extra concern. So far, so good though.

If Ovechkin keeps up these efforts, Fleury will need to be sharp all night.


NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.