The Penguins are a very talented team that has hit a rough patch lately. They have lost four of five games and appear to be in a tail spin.
The question can then be posed, how can the Penguins turn it around and get things going again. The question can be perplexing especially considering that the Penguins hold the No. 1 and 2 spots in individual points scoring.
The answer however, may be very simple, that is to have a healthy Marc-Andre Fleury in goal.
At the start of the season the Penguins were a force, they were lead by some of the best goal-tending, and goal scoring, of any team. When one of the two sides were in a slump, the other would do something amazing to generate energy for the other.
With the return of Fleury we may see the Penguins return to the peak of their game. This is because he is the starting goaltender, and he is at the heart of the team.
Remember the playoffs, when the offense was struggling to get going against Detroit, it was the amazing showing of Fleury that kept the Penguins in the game, and eventually generated energy for the offense.
This is not to say that the back ups on the Penguins are not skilled, in fact, Sabourin is one of the best goaltenders in the league, let alone back up. Curry has also performed admirably considering the situation.
The issue is that Sabourin does not inspire the team in the same way; he does not generate the energy that Fleury does. The energy that Fleury generates is unimaginable, he not only inspires players, he inspires the home crowd, which in turn generates more energy for the players.
Fleury has a special talent to make the team perform at their top level, and his return to the ice should inspire greatness out of a Penguins team that has looked exhausted, mentally and physically.
When it comes down to it Fleury is simply one of the greatest goaltenders in the NHL. His athleticism is unmatched and when he plays at his peak I dare anyone to score on him.
Think back to game five against Detroit. Saving over 50 shots in the Stanley Cup Final is impressive enough, but these shots were all quality scoring chances and Fleury simply would not allow them to enter the net.
At the end of the day if nothing else Fleury is the best goaltender on the Penguins team and that alone should help. We have also discovered that he has two quality back ups if a scenario were to arise where they were needed. If nothing else Fleury's ability will help to prevent opponent scoring, but in reality he means much more than that to his team and his fans.