Series (Game 1 of 2)

Pittsburgh leads 2-0

Game 1: Thursday, October 30th
Game 2: Monday, December 29th

Penguins 1

(2-4-0, 7 pts)

Blackhawks 0

(3-5-0, 9 pts)

8:30 PM ET, October 30, 2003

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 T
PIT 0 1 01
CHI 0 0 00

K. Koltsov (Penguins - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Melichar (Penguins - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

M. Fleury (Penguins - G): Saves: 20, Save Pct.: 1.000

Rookie Kolstov scores game's only goal

CHICAGO (AP) -- One goal was all that was needed to make it a perfect night for Pittsburgh coach Ed Olczyk and young goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.


The Penguins' Aleksey Morozov and Blackhawk Steve Poapst collide in the first period.

Fleury, the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, stopped 20 shots to earn his first NHL shutout in his first road start and rookie left wing Konstantin Kolstov scored his first NHL goal in the Penguins' 1-0 victory Thursday night over the Chicago Blackhawks.

That made a winner out of Olczyk, the Penguins' rookie coach, who as a player was drafted third overall by the Blackhawks in 1984.

Pittsburgh also won for just the second time this season (2-4-3) and snapped its four-game winless streak. Chicago's five-game unbeaten streak was snapped as the Blackhawks fell to 3-5-3.

"This is my hometown, and coming back to where I started my career and finished my (playing) career, it's a special feeling," Olczyk said. "Marc has played extremely well. He deserved a night like this."

Starting on consecutive nights for the first time this season, the 18-year-old Fleury looked sharp in stopping 20 shots.

With the game winding down, Fleury couldn't help but think of the shutout.

"I tried to not think about it, but I did, though," he said. "I was crossing my fingers, hoping that they would not score. I was happy that nothing went by."

Fleury posted only two shutouts in each of his last two seasons in junior hockey. He started the game 10th in the NHL with a .937 save percentage, and was helped by a stingy Pittsburgh defense. The Penguins entered the game allowing 37.1 shots per game.

After facing at least 12 more shots in each of his first five games, including stopping 48 against Los Angeles on Oct. 10, Fleury had to concentrate to stay in the game.

"You have to stay more focused by yourself," he said. "When you have more shots, it's maybe easier, because you stay active for the whole game."

Blackhawks right wing Steve Sullivan was more disappointed in his team's play than impressed by Fleury.

"I can't tell you how good he is," Sullivan said. "We didn't get a lot of second shots and a lot of sustained pressure against him. They were taking away the shooting lanes, but we weren't working around that."

Generating only 19 shots, Pittsburgh's offense didn't fare much better. The Penguins, however, did get one by Chicago backup goaltender Michael Leighton.

Kolstov slapped a backhanded shot at 4:21 of the second period for the only goal of the game. After taking a pass from Martin Straka, the left wing made a quick move around center Brett McLean and lifted the puck over Leighton's right pad.

"He was smiling ear-to-ear," Olczyk said. "The face shield couldn't hide it.

"Things are coming together for him," Olczyk added. "The other night he had three assists. He's got the hands, speed and shiftiness."

While Olczyk was happy by the achievements of his young players, they understood how much this game meant to the coach.

"We always want to win, but maybe for him tonight it's a bit special," Fleury said.

Chicago had several good opportunities to tie it with under 3:30 left in the third, but couldn't solve Fleury.

Game Notes: Chicago LW Eric Daze missed his eighth straight game due to a stiff back. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks. ... Chicago LW Jason Strudwick injured his wrist in the first period and didn't return. ... The Blackhawks lost their 150th game at the United Center, which opened during the strike-shortened 1994-1995 season. The Blackhawks are 160-150-46 there.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press