For many, it was only a matter of time before Marc-Andre Fleury took a seat on the Penguins bench for backup Tomas Vokoun. A year ago, Fleury was absolutely dreadful in a first round exit against the Philadelphia Flyers. In the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs Fleury has struggled again. This time, the leash is shorter than last year and now Fleury will watch from the sidelines.
Many think this was a blessing in disguise for the Penguins. The Vokoun enthusiasts of the world believe the Penguins are better with Vokoun than they are with unpredictable Fleury between the pipes and tonight Vokoun has a chance to prove it.
Unfortunately, the New York Islanders are getting very little credit for their great play thus far. All the talk outside of Long Island is about the Penguins goaltending issues and lack of intensity so far. The truth is, the Isles have been very good. They’ve used their speed to cause the Penguins fits. The Isles have also done a great job of preventing Crosby and Malkin from deciding this series up to this point.
Vokoun Has Been Great Against The Islanders This Season.
In the 3 games he’s played against the New York Islanders this season, Tomas Vokoun has posted remarkable numbers. With a record of 3-0 and save percentage of .970, Vokoun has owned the Isles in his time on the Penguins. If he owns them similarly in the playoffs, it’s anyone’s guess what the Penguins do with their franchise guy Fleury moving forward. If Fleury can’t get it done in the playoffs, then what value does he truly have to a Penguins franchise that wants to win multiple Stanley Cups?
Vokoun Was Brought In As An Insurance Policy For Fleury.
After the meltdown Fleury had a year ago in the playoffs it became clear the Penguins needed a backup goalie as a backup plan. Fleury has not been great again, peaking as a playoff bust in Game 4 on Long Island with some questionable goals against. Penguins head coach had this to say about the off season addition of goaltender Tomas Vokoun, “We brought Tomas Vokoun in to play big games for us. He’s done that for us and he’s been very good against the Islanders.”
Vokoun vs Nabokov Is An Old Western Conference Goaltending Showdown.
If you go back 5-8 years ago, Tomas Vokoun and Evgeni Nabokov had many head-to-head showdowns against each other as starters for the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks. It’s been a long time since the two aging stoppers were considered amongst the NHL’s best in the net, but both have proved to still be very capable and effective at times. Tonight they will face off in a very important game that could essentially tip the momentum in one team’s direction and lead to a series win in Game 6.