Fleury Big Reason Why Penguins Are 2-0
The first concern was in regards to how Marc-Andre Fleury would respond this year after his poor performance in the postseason last year. Many wondered where his confidence level was and if he had seen the last of good days in Pittsburgh.
That concern was exacerbated when we found out that the team’s other goaltender, Tomas Vokoun, was going to be out 3-6 months after having a blood clot removed from his pelvis. Vokoun was terrific last year for the Penguins both during the regular season and in the playoffs while also being a great insurance policy should Fleury ever go down with an injury.
Through the Penguins’ first two games of the season, however, these concerns seemed to have been lessened. Not only are the Penguins 2-0, but they are 2-0 because of the great play of Fleury so far.
In two games, Fleury has put up some gaudy numbers. The Penguins’ 28-year-old masked man is 2-0 with a 0.50 GAA, a .979 save percentage and one shutout, which puts him in the top five in the league in those categories.
There are several reasons why Fleury is off to a great start this season. It all starts with his confidence.
In his wins against the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres, Fleury looked in control between the pipes. He challenged shooters, showed poise and patience in stopping both original and rebound shots and played within himself.
Secondly, Fleury is getting nothing but positive support from both his teammates and head coach. After his team’s 3-0 shutout win on opening night against the New Jersey Devils, Penguins’ team captain Sidney Crosby expressed his belief in Fleury to the team’s web site.
“We believe in him,” Crosby said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt in there. He made some great saves and we probably made him work harder than he needed to at the end, but those saves were beauties. So it’s good to see him get the shutout and start it off with a win.”
Penguins’ head coach, Dan Bylsma, also acknowledged to the team’s web site that Fleury did what he needed to do to win a hockey game.
“It was certainly a good start,” Bylsma said. “I think early on in the game, there was not a lot of action for him and around him, but in the second period they started taking the play to us and he had to make a couple of big saves.”
Lastly, Fleury has found success early this year because of his positioning. In the postseason against the New York Islanders last year, Fleury was all over the crease and had pucks bounce off of him from all different angles while also being found out of position for several of the goals against him.