Marc Andre Fleury—Pittsburgh's Best Player—Shows Up When It Matters Most

Matt MillerContributor IJune 3, 2008

No words needed. 

Marc Andre Fleury stole that game last night and that's that. 55 saves with about 20 of them being "clutch" and we all know how we love using the word clutch and sports in the same sentence. 

Detroit has nothing to feel sorry about.  What does coach Mike Babcock do to adjust facing a Game 6 in Pittsburgh?  NOTHING!!!  He already made some brillant moves such as pairing up Zetteberg with Samuelson late in the third period which led to two goals and what looked like ultimately was going to be another Stanely Cup winner for Detroit. What should he do? Tell his players sorry for not scoring? 

If I am a Detroit fan, I still feel very good about my team.  The Wings are still up 3 games to 2, have the best offense in the league, racked up 55 shots, have the best defenseman in the league and have to win one of the next two games versus a 23-year-old goaltender who finally played like he did all year. 

Let's give the Penguins there due, Maxim Talbuts rebound goal was just what Pittsburg needed and it made me absolutely giddy. Detroit fans chanting "we want the cup," singing Journey at the top of their lungs and Maxim shuts them up with two swipes.

Then in overtime became the Marc Andre Fleury show. Great positioning was why he made a couple of those saves, but the glove was exceptionally sharp and that is what matters most.  Pittsburg got all the calls last night and finally capitalized in the third overtime after Petr Sykora was telling players on the bench last night he was going to score. Well he did score and there will be a Game 6.

There is a reason boys and girls that Chris Osgood was not a starter this year.  There is a reason he barely could win a job in St. Louis and with that other New York team. Sure he said he has a new style and it's clear he has played pretty well this postseason, but he still isn't what he once was and this is the only concerning thing for Detroit. 

Name the worst goaltender to ever win a Stanely Cup?  I am having a hard time thinking of one.  Chris Osgood won a cup as a starter with them already so whats the problem?  The fact that its now 2008 and he is not getting any younger.  If you could trade Fleury for Osgood, Detroit fans would take that trade I think in a New York minute.  They may not like to admit that, but with the way Detroit plays two way hockey as well as the Soviets did in the 1970's.

Detroit wins in spite of him because they are just so talented.  I mean can you name a team where Brad Stuart acts as a fifth defenseman?  This was the main trade bait in the Bruins trade of Joe Thornton and now he is just rolls along as a fifth or sixth defenseman.  Brian Rafalski as a 2, Niccky Lid playing like old, Chris Chellios still somehow good, this cast only can resemble the All star level of Pulp Fiction.  But playing the role of Erick Stoltz is Chris Osgood. 

Marc Andre Fleury will need to be nearly as good in Game 6, but it his teammates who really need to step up. Evgeni Malkin better be hurt because he flat out his stinking up the joint. He was winded!??! Granted I can't run two miles without breathing heavy, but I don't play in the NHL.

So Evgeni here is some advice.

Drink some Spike energy drink, pop snickers bars between periods and have water and Red Bull as your replenishing fuel.  Maybe napping between periods will help. Also take a look at Ryan Malones face and realize that's what it takes to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. 

Even though Pittsburg won, I think Michelle Terrien needs to flip up some lines and make some magic happen because you cannot bank on Marc Andre playing like Zeus once again. Although you never know because goaltender is the clear cut advantage that Pittsburg had going into this series. Even if the numbers don't back that up, just use your human eyes.

BOLD PREDICTION FOR GAME 6: Detroit wins 3-2 just because they are that frikkkkin sick!  No other words to say. Marc Andre Fleury if he can play as well then who knows? Chris Osgood stepping up? I say no chance, but when you have that supporting cast, even Erik Stoltz can win a cup.

If you are a Pittsburg fan, just think. If Marc Andre Fleury can stand on his head for just two more games, maybe you have your Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan, surrounded by a group of aspiring actors, but playing just like an Oscar-worthy performance for yourself.  Can't wait for the game!