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Playoffs 2013Marc-Andre Fleury meltdown could force goalie switch

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | 01:56 AM

Categories: Hockey Night in Canada, New York Islanders, PIT vs NYI, Pittsburgh Penguins, Playoffs 2013

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Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun, left, could get the call for Game 5 over the struggling Marc-Andre Fleury, who's allowed 14 goals in the last three playoff games to the New York Islanders. (Associated Press) Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun, left, could get the call for Game 5 over the struggling Marc-Andre Fleury, who's allowed 14 goals in the last three playoff games to the New York Islanders. (Associated Press)

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The spotlight might well shine on Tomas Vokoun on Thursday night. Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury endured a post-season meltdown - again - as the Islanders evened their first-round series with the Penguins at 2-2 following a 6-4 victory in Game 4 Tuesday night.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The spotlight might well shine on Tomas Vokoun on Thursday night.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury endured a post-season meltdown - again - as the Islanders evened their first-round series with the Penguins at 2-2 following a 6-4 victory in Game 4 Tuesday night.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was non-committal regarding who his goaltender will be when the series returns to Consol Energy Center for Game 5, but there is a strong belief among many close to the organization that Vokoun will get the nod.

Vokoun was acquired in a trade from Washington last summer and the Penguins quickly signed the veteran to a two-year, $4-million US deal. Although they partially signed him because they didn't want Fleury playing too frequently in the regular season, the Penguins also signed Vokoun in part because they wanted to have an insurance policy should Fleury endure another playoff implosion. Fleury allowed 26 goals in six games against the Flyers last spring.

After posting a shutout in Game 1 of this series, Fleury has allowed four, four and six goals, respectively.

He actually didn't play poorly in Games 2 and 3, as the Penguins' defence was simply overwhelmed by the fast and skilled Islanders.

However, Fleury was the reason the Penguins dropped Game 4. He knocked a puck into his own net late in the second period for the second time in this series, and again, Kyle Okposo was the beneficiary. The Penguins led, 3-2, when Okposo's marker occurred in the period's final minute, and there was an undeniable sense that this goal was a turning point.

It most certainly was.

Fleury allowed three goals in the final period, one of them of the soft variety.

The Penguins' longtime starter, Fleury, 28, has been yanked from playoff games but has never had a start taken away. This appears quite likely. Ever since claiming Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final in Detroit in an iconic performance, Fleury's career playoff record is 14-16.

Strange night for Malkin

It was quite a strange night for Evgeni Malkin. The NHL's reigning MVP was probably the best player on the ice during the first two periods. He masterfully set up James Neal for the Penguins' first goal and evened the game at 2-2 in the second period with a goal on a rush.

However, Malkin's dreadful giveaway in the third period was the game's difference. Malkin, skating in his own territory, casually attempted to pass a puck through the middle of the ice.

Moments later, Islanders star John Tavares took advantage of the play to score the evening's game-winning goal.


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Game gets out of control

Things got out of control in the game's final moments. Replays showed that, during a skirmish after the game had ended, Penguins defenceman Kris Letang - who, earlier in the day, was named one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy, given to the league's finest all-around defenceman - clearly pushed a linseman.  It remains unknown if Letang will face any disciplinary action for the incident.

Tense Pens?

Think the mood in the Penguins' locker room is getting tense? The media crowded into the dressing room following the game and clogged the entrance way in and out of the room, largely because captain Sidney Crosby's locker is located right by the entrance. Some players let it be known that they weren't happy with the media's location.

Tavares having his way

Tavares continued to have his way with the Penguins' defence. Tavares, looking faster and fresher than Pittsburgh, scored the game-winner two days after his goal sent Game 3 to overtime.

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