Since leading the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in 2009, Marc-Andre Fleury has a nagging habit of looking like a franchise netminder during the regular season and anything but during the postseason.
Despite the facts that postseason games tend to be lower scoring and teams focus more on defense, Fleury's save percentage has improved in the postseason only once in seven seasons—during his first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 (from .921 to .933).
While many see the 2009 postseason as Fleury's best, the numbers show that even that performance was an anomaly, as his .908 save percentage was lower than his career regular-season average of .910 and the lowest of any Stanley Cup winning goaltender since the Pens' Tom Barrasso (.907) in 1992.
Since hoisting the Stanley Cup, Fleury has a postseason record of just 14-16, a disastrous .877 save percentage and was finally exiled to the bench last year in favor of the steady, albeit less flashy, Tomas Vokoun.
After a tumultuous postseason involving trade rumors, a new goaltending coach and rampant speculation about his future with the organization, Fleury has reasserted himself. He has tied a career high with five shutouts and stands second in wins with 39.
However, should he struggle again this postseason, no amount of regular season success will be able to silence the critics or preserve his place as the Pens' starting goaltender.
With one year left on his contract and promising goaltending prospects in the Pens' farm system, Marc-Andre Fleury will be under immense pressure to be the dominant goaltender of years past and clearly— out of all of the Pens—has the most to prove this postseason.