After two straight losses to the Boston Bruins, just about everything is in disarray right now for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their performances have been dreadful up and down the lineup, but one of the sexier storylines to talk about is always who will be the goalie. Especially after Marc-Andre Fleury struggled in Round 1 (as he has for several playoff series dating back to 2010) and was finally replaced for the first time in post-season play by a backup, Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun was strong against the Islanders and Senators, but found himself pulled after being in a shooting gallery last night.
Fleury of course allowed a goal on the first shot he saw, just seconds after the Penguins scored their first goal of the series and appeared to have something positive to take into the first intermission.
So now the big question: who gets the net in Boston for Game 3?
Some say you can’t go to Fleury because his confidence is clearly broken, others might argue that Vokoun hasn’t kept the puck out of the net either. No matter how you slice it, the team hasn’t played well and no one really has a commanding hold on any aspect of the game for Pittsburgh right now.
So what it boils down to, for me, is this: say Boston has 10 shots in the first period of Game 3- which goaltender do you have more faith in to make 10 saves on those 10 hypothetical shots?
The answer to that is the answer to who should play, and I think the answer is clear. Tomas Vokoun saved the Penguins season when Fleury floundered. Vokoun hasn’t been shaky, he’s seen pucks beat him because of defensive breakdowns, not mental mistakes or physical errors on his end. Vokoun has been steadier more recently than MAF, and Vokoun should be in net for Game 3.
There’s room to disagree- that’s the beauty of sports, but the choice seems pretty obvious from where I sit, Tomas Vokoun ought to start Game 3. But if the 18 skaters in front of him don’t play a whole lot better AND smarter hockey, it won’t matter who the goalie is, he won’t have a chance.