While much has been made of Marc Andre-Fleury's postseason struggles over the past few seasons, the role that fatigue has played in those struggles has been largely ignored.
Although Fleury's detractors would be quick to point out that last season's first-round benching came after a strike-shortened 48-game season, the fact is that he was in net for nine of the Pens' final 13 regular-season games and was a tired goalie entering the playoffs.
So far this season, Fleury has played in 27 of the Pens' 33 games and, barring a quick return by Tomas Vokoun, a trade or current backup Jeff Zatkoff catching fire, is on pace to tie his career-high of 67 games in net in a season.
Considering that the three previous times Fleury played in 67 games during the regular season (2006-07, 2009-10 and 2011-12) the Pens were eliminated twice in the first round and once in the second round, his workload this season should be a concern to both Pens management and the coaching staff.
Although Fleury is having a great start to the 2013-14 season and is on pace to set career bests for goals-against average (2.01) and save percentage (.922), head coach Dan Bylsma must be careful to not place too much of the burden on him this early in the season.