The biggest question mark entering the season was which Marc-Andre Fleury would show up. After a strong season last year, the wheels fell off the wagon during the playoffs as the Pittsburgh Penguins failed to meet expectations again.
Going into this year many questioned whether or not Fleury would be the starter with Tomas Vokoun there to push for playing time. Then a new set of questions were created when it was learned that Vokoun would miss most if not all of the regular season after having a blood clot removed.
The Penguins’ goalie situation went from having a solid duo to having to rely once again on Fleury to carry the load for the team. Fleury has answered the bell in every which way you could ask for, leading the NHL in wins and being named the NHL’s ‘second star of the week’ this past week.
Fleury’s play has been outstanding, and it was well worth the recognition he got this week. Playing in 12 of the team’s 15 games, Fleury is in the top ten in GAA and save percentage among qualifying goaltenders.
The question with Fleury has never really been the regular season, but it’s his postseason play that has been his downfall. But in this year’s Fleury we are seeing something we haven’t seen from him in a while.
Calm and collective confidence. He doesn’t just make the save, he is completely confident in the saves he makes. He isn’t flopping around and struggling to make the easiest save; he is finally letting the game come to him and, again, has confidence to make the save.
Fleury could walk away with the Vezina Trophy this year, but it won’t matter until he has success in the postseason. Still this year has a different feel watching him play, and this could be a year when we see Fleury finally break out.
Anthony Murphy is a contributing writer for RantSports.com. You follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.