Move over Braden Holtby, the rookie goaltender who limited the Bruins to one goal in his first taste of NHL playoff action, there is a new challenger for your mantle of worst playoff goalie, and this one has already won a Stanley Cup.
Friday night's action saw the Pittsburgh Penguins allow eight goals on home ice, minus the empty netter which completed a Claude Giroux hat trick, Fleury was responsible for seven goals allowed.
Fleury was challenged thirty times by the upbeat Philadelphia Flyers, who for the second time in as many games, forged a mighty comeback against the hapless Pens. Pittsburgh's goalie posted a .767 save percentage, a feat that even Philadelphia's resident head-case of the universe, Ilya Bryzgalov couldn't match.
Often criticized for his lack of clutch play, Bryzgalov did let in five goals over the course of the game, but came up huge for the Flyers in later periods. The Russian with the nine year contract outplayed his playoff experience-laden counterpart at the other end of the ice in every facet of the game.
Pittsburgh, the favorite to win the East, and the finals for that matter, cannot count on Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been absolutely abysmal so far this season.
The series returns to Philadelphia this Sunday where the Penguins will find themselves in an 0-2 hole marching into enemy territory. To make matters worse, they must rally from two behind in one of the loudest, most unfriendly arenas in the entire NHL.
The sub plots of Malkin's Hart Trophy and Crosby's return could be undermined and completely forgotten by the lackluster play of Pittsburgh's Fleury. Even if Fleury is a little bit better, it won't be enough. The Flyers have smelled the blood in the water and are ready to go for the kill. Pittsburgh's only chance to come out even is to slug it out and outscore whatever numbers the Flyers put up.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!