|2009 - Marc-Andre Fleury||6||370||6||0||14||2.27||169||155||.917||0|
Is this guy playing out of his mind or what?
Heading into the season I think my one concern was Pittsburgh's defense. This isn't to say that I felt it would simply roll over and let other team's trounce them but I think it was more a concern based on the unknown. How would Jay McKee work in Pittsburgh's system? How would Alex Goligoski look in first full NHL season? Will Kris Letang work - no, SHOOT - the puck more? After the first seven games and six wins, a collection that includes a 'W' over the Rangers, Flyers and Hurricanes, it may be a good enough time to say things are going just fine. I suppose one the factors that I didn't consider was the notion that Marc-Andre Fleury would still be the rock and anchor of Pittsburgh's defense no matter who is working the blue line.
Preseason aside this guy hasn't lost a game since June. He stepped up big in the home opener to make a ridiculous side-to-side save on the Rangers' Vinny Prospal and came right back the next night against the Islanders to rob Mr. Rookie Sensation John Tavares. Need we forget his toe save on Jeff Carter in the first round of the playoffs last year? Or his glove save on Alex Ovechkin's breakaway in Game 7?
This shouldn't come as any surprise, really.
Last night's shootout was just another opportunity for Fleury to shine. Cam Ward vs. Marc-Andre Fleury. The Canadian goaltenders battling for a position on Team Canada's roster fighting to keep their respective team alive long enough to steal the extra point. It's almost like the subplot for some sort of action flick.
After seven rounds of saves (and hey, a little luck from the goal post), Fleury edged out Ward 2-1 to remain undefeated and improve to 6-0.
A few more challenges present themselves before we can all get too carried away. Let's not forget the season is still young and certain teams have given Pittsburgh trouble when least expected (see also: Toronto last season, Phoenix this year).
On Saturday MAF will look to make it 7-0 with a win over the Lightning. The Pens went 3-1 against Tampa Bay last season. Fleury was in net for all of them.
So getting back to my original point/question, do you attributeFleury's success so far this season to his play, or is the defense a huge factor in it as well?