It should be all about the playoffs for Fleury

2/14/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Feb 3, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) on the ice against the Ottawa Senators during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsThere’s no doubt that Marc-Andre Fleury can put up great numbers in the regular season but the Pittsburgh Penguins netminder plays like a different goaltender in the post-season.

Just look at the numbers that he has already posted this season. In 47 games, Fleury is 31-13-2 with a 2.23 goals against average, a .919 save percentage and four shutouts.

Year in and year out in the regular season, Fleury is one of the most consistent goaltenders in the league. He puts up great numbers, wins a lot of hockey games and usually helps put his team in a good playoff position.

With all of that said, however, it is the postseason in which Fleury struggles mightily. Yes, he won the Stanley Cup in 2009, but since then, he has not been able to help his team get far when it matters the most.

It is Fleury's play in the postseason that will be under scrutiny and with good reason. This was especially case in both last year's playoffs against the New York Islanders and in the 2012 playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers.

In the last two postseasons combined, Fleury is 4-6 and has allowed 43 goals in 11 games. Fleury struggled so much against the Islanders that Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma decided to pull him and put in Tomas Vokoun, who played the rest of the post-season for the club. 

Because of his play in the postseason last year, Fleury went ahead and saw a sports psychologist. At the time, Fleury said that he thought that this is something that could help him.

"It's another tool," Fleury said. "It's something that can help you perform, so why not give it a try? I think it was an opportune time to meet with him."

It is tough to tell whether or not it has worked thus far because Fleury has always been a solid goaltender in the regular season. It is the postseason in which he becomes Dr. Jekyl and plays like a completely differently netminder.

It is clear that Fleury, 28, has a split-personality when in between the pipes. The good side wins games, plays confidently and does not get rattled while the bad side is a nightmare not only for himself, but for the Penguins as it has led to nothing but playoff failure.

Even with his past failures in the postseason, his teammates continue to stand behind him.

“It’s not like he has to re-define his game and prove to everyone he can play. He had a couple of bad games and unfortunately there is scrutiny that comes along with it, but I think he’s more than capable of coming back even stronger even through all that.”

With the postseason quickly approaching, it will be interesting to see which Fleury rears is head. Will it be the Fleury who is one of the most consistent goaltenders in the league from October to early April or will it be the Fleury that struggles when competing in the tournament for hockey's Holy Grail?
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