The Pittsburgh Penguins finally dropped the bombshell on Wednesday afternoon.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury
has been benched
Fleury, who has started all 78 playoff games that the Penguins have participated in since being drafted by the franchise in 2003, will be replaced by Tomas Vokoun
in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series
against the New York Islanders on Thursday at Consol Energy Center.
The benching comes because of Fleury's recent playoff numbers. He has been beaten for 40 goals during his past 10 post-season games.
Fleury was particularly horrid
in Game 4 against the Islanders. He allowed six goals in New York's 6-4 win
, and three of them were not of the good variety.
The Penguins' netminder backstopped the team's run to the Stanley Cup in 2009 but since then is only 14-16 in the post-season. Fleury blanked the Islanders in Game 1
of this series but has since permitted 14 goals in three games.
Vokoun has been solid as a rock all season for the Penguins, who signed him to a two-year, $4-million US deal last summer. The Penguins brought Vokoun into the mix largely for insurance purposes, should Fleury again struggle in the playoffs. Here we go again. Fleury allowed 26 goals in six games against the Flyers last spring and looks almost as shaky in this series.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said that he informed Fleury of the news on Wednesday morning. The Penguins never announce lineup decisions during the playoffs, making Bylsma's decision to name Vokoun his starting goaltender that much more interesting.
Fleury finished second in victories in the NHL this season.
"We think Tomas can be a great goalie for us," Bylsma said.Lost and found
Evgeni Malkin endured an interesting game against the Islanders in Game 4. He scored a goal and set up James Neal for a pretty score. However, his giveaway gave Islanders star John Tavares the game-winner.
Then, during a postgame fight, Malkin lost his good-luck chain and crucifix that he always wears during games.After some searching on the ice, Malkin found it. Malkin had the chain and cross in his hand while walking out of Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.Day off
The Penguins decided a day off would be more practical than having a practice on Wednesday, so they changed their plans at the last minute. The team was originally scheduled to practice at 1:00 but opted to cancel the workout, making an announcement to the media at 11:30 a.m.Letang likely to avoid punishment
Defenceman Kris Letang appeared to make physical contact with a linesman at the conclusion of last night's game, but league officials and the Penguins do not expect there to be any disciplinary action.
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