Wednesday, 23 April 2014

In Fleury We Bust

I cannot understand Marc-Andre Fleury. It is unfathomable to me that one of the best regular-season goaltenders can be so bad in the playoffs. I get that the pressure is ramped up and there is a lot on the line, especially in the goaltending position, in the playoffs, but tonight's debacle was inexcusable. Granted, tonight's loss doesn't get put entirely at the feet of Fleury, but the Penguins were thirty seconds from a 3-1 series lead when Fleury decided to Conklin this series away for the Penguins.

For those who don't remember, here's Ty Conklin's gaffe in the Edmonton-Carolina Stanley Cup Final. Edmonton never recovered.


Here's Marc-Andre Fleury last night with the score 3-2 and thirty seconds remaining in the game.


The good news for Fleury is that the Penguins could still win in overtime. All he had to do is be sharp. Except, well, Fleury.


Again, I'm not sure how he puts up 40-plus wins in the regular season, yet can't beat the same team four times in a seven-game span. Both of those goals were entirely Fleury not concentrating on the puck, and both of them ended up in the net behind him and the Columbus horn blaring. That CANNOT happen in the playoffs if the Penguins expect to go far, and the momentum after last night's game is entirely on the Blue Jackets' side now.

People said Fleury had lost confidence. He had a fragile ego. He's not a playoff performer. I'm starting to think that none of those arguments are true. He simply may have ADD - attention-deficit disorder. Of course, I kid, and I'm not making light of those that do suffer from ADD, but both of those goals above show a clear lack of focus and concentration! How does this happen when you're thirty seconds from giving your team a 3-1 lead?!?

The plus that Pittsburgh can take from this game is that they posted a 3-0 score before squandering that lead. They have shown they can score on Bobrovsky who has also looked out of sorts in this series. There's also a two-day break before Game Five, so there will most certainly be video watched and practices ran. The Penguins also return home, so they may be able to feed off the Pittsburgh fans who, I'm sure, will be raucous and rowdy.

The fact that all four games have been won by the team who fell behind by at least two goals shows that these teams may need some adversity to play well. It seems to focus their attention on the tasks at-hand, and pushes them to play harder. However, the adversity should never come from within, and the Penguins are dealing with the same old story behind them where their trusted goaltender is giving them anything but trusted goaltending.

If the Penguins manage to survive this series, they should consider themselves lucky. If they don't, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Both of those hold true in spite of their goaltending.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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