Do Pittsburgh Penguins Have a Goalie Controversy on Their Hands?

By Stephanie Lewark
Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins narrowly made it past the New York Islanders on to the Eastern Conference semifinals, which is pretty surprising since the Penguins are a number one seed and the Islanders were eighth.

One of the bigger factors between winning and losing for the Penguins this series was who was in net.  Marc-Andre Fleury started the round very strong in Game 1 at the CONSOL Energy Center; however, it was downhill from there until head coach, Dan Bylsma, decided to put Tomas Vokoun in Fleury’s place for Game 5.

There is no doubt that Fleury struggled with the Islanders and that he tends to have a few problems during the playoffs.  His stats are the worst during the post-season, which is why Pittsburgh’s general manager, Ray Shero, picked up Vokoun last off-season – to give Fleury a rest and pick up some of his slack in the playoffs. 

Fleury’s stats definitely give an indication of his troubles come playoff time.  In the seven seasons he has started in net for the Penguins in the post-season since 2007, Fleury has been at .900 save percentage or above only twice and both of those times were when Pittsburgh made it all the way through to the Stanley Cup final and won the Stanley Cup in 2009 (.933 and .908, respectively).  The rest of the time, he was within .800 save percentage and you can trace a similar percentage as far back as his junior days with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL).

With that being said, Fleury remains the Penguins number one goalie.  Although Bylsma remains tight-lipped as to who will start in goal, it would be a surprising move if the Penguins started Vokoun instead of him when they begin their series with the Ottawa Senators at the CONSOL tomorrow night.

Stephanie Lewark is an NHL and Pittsburgh Penguins Senior Writer for Follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her Facebook page, or add her to your Google+ circle.

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