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Golden Knights: Marc-André Fleury Gears Up For First Ever Stanley Cup Playoff Run With Vegas
(Photo by David Becker/ Associated Press)
Las Vegas–With the regular season coming to a close this Saturday for the entire National Hockey League, those teams that have clinched, are putting the finishing touches on their game for the postseason.
For the Vegas Golden Knights, this will be their first ever Stanley Cup Playoff run in the history of the franchise as they recently clinched the Pacific Division crown over the San Jose Sharks in front a record breaking crowd at T-Mobile Arena of 18,458.
Fleury’s current record for the 2017-18 season with the Golden Knights is 29-12-4 with 4 shutouts that includes a save % of .931 and a GAA of 2.13
It was also made official as Carp reported that Malcolm Subban will serve as the Golden Knights backup during their playoff run.
Subban’s notables this year with Vegas as their backup is 13-3-2 and has an impressive .912 save % and a good GAA of 2.60 in 18 starts between the pipes.
His best game was against the San Jose Sharks in a 2-1 overtime loss where he posted a career high in saves at 42 besting out his previous performance of 41 he previously set when the Golden Knights played Nashville that resulted in a 4-3 win.
Over the course of his NHL career, Fleury has suited up in a 115 playoff games all with the Pittsburgh Penguins in which he posted a 62-51-0 record. Included in that record comes with ten shutouts to his credit in the playoffs.
Vegas Knights of The Roundtable takes a look back at the previous playoff runs that Fleury has been involved in since being in the NHL.
This was his first playoff run with the Penguins where it resulted in the a very quick exit by the eventual Stanley Cup Finalists that season as the Ottawa Senators dispatched them in five games.
In that series the best performances that Fleury had was in game 2 where he posted 34 saves on 37 shots and recorded a .919 save % that resulted in a 4-3 victory.
He bested that result later in game 4 where the Penguins lost 2-1 to Ottawa, Fleury stopped 24 of 26 shots and posted a .923 save %.
For Fleury, he recorded a below average showing in net at a .880 save %.
2007-08 (First Ever Stanley Cup Finals Appearance)
In his 2nd playoff run of his career saw a major improvement in Fleury’s game and was more confident that he carried the Penguins all the way the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in his playing career. That run lasted 20 total games.
For the Penguins they were able to get their revenge on the Senators with a round 1 series sweep. Fleury earned his first ever playoff shutout in the opening game of that series and had an overall save % average of .955.
During the 2nd round series against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers, it featured a 5 game affair in which final contest of the series resulted in a 3-2 overtime win for Pittsburgh. Fleury’s performance showed a drop in save % at .924, nevertheless however, he did record another shutout in game 2.
The Eastern Conference Finals the Penguins faced cross state rivals Philadelphia that lasted 5 games. Fleury would get another shutout added to his name in the final contest where Pittsburgh defeated the Flyers by a lopsided 6-0 win.
Overall he had a solid series between the pipes vs. Philadelphia and improved from the previous round at .939 save %.
In the Stanley Cup Finals for Fleury was a much different story for him as he struggled a bit in the series vs. the “Original Six” Detroit Red Wings.
With the hot performance he had in the three previous rounds, he only recorded 2 victories for Pittsburgh (Game 3 and Game 5). Pittsburgh was also shutout twice in the first two games of that series.
His best recorded performance during that run was the fifth game of the finals where it went 3 overtime periods. In that contest, Fleury made 55 saves on 58 shots that Detroit threw at him in basically 6 periods of work, the Penguins defeated Detroit 4-3.
He finished the finals with a .923 save % average.
Niklas Lidstrom‘s Red Wings gave the inexperienced Penguins some much valuable experience in that loss.
2008-09 (Revenge At The Joe)
Following up the loss from the year prior to the Red Wings in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, Fleury and the Penguins were a team on a mission to get back the finals again to finish the job. This run however was a bit a longer for “Flower” and the Pens that featured a 24 game journey.
The opponent that kicked off their return to the Stanley Cup Finals in the opening round of the playoffs was none other than their cross state rivals the Flyers.
That series was pretty marginal in terms of how well Fleury played backstopping the Penguins in the 6 game series.
His performance was subpar compared the opening round of the previous year. Fleury in the 4 games to 2 series win over Philly he averaged a save % of .922.
Game 3 in that series, saw Fleury’s second best outing of his Stanley Cup Playoff career where he made 45 saves of 46 shots and completed the contest with a .978 save %.
In round two, it was the highly anticipated matchup between Sydney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin for the first time in NHL history.
That star studded affair featured a lengthy 7 game series that was one for the ages. Scoring played a huge role and dictated the series between “Sid The Kid” and “Alexander The Great”.
The offensive fire power that the two teams put out was a combined 47 goals (27 by Pittsburgh and 20 from Washington).
For the sake of argument here, we are going to give Fleury a pass because goaltending wasn’t the main story line for the 1st ever matchup of #87 vs. #8.
Fleury did record a below average save % in the 7 game bout at .878.
Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Hurricanes, were given a gift as that series would be a 4 game sweep by the Penguins.
In that short series he save his best performance in the final game where he recorded a series high of a .968 save %.
He bounced back with a solid overall showing in the series sweep vs. Carolina where he posted an overall save % of .924.
In the Stanley Cup Finals rematch between Detroit and Pittsburgh, the result was the same in the first two games of the series as the Red Wings took game 1 and 2 by identical 3-1 victories. The Penguins would take the next two at “The Igloo” by the same result of 4-2.
After that, it was a best of three series where Pittsburgh ended up getting their revenge on the Red Wings at “The Joe” in dramatic fashion that featured a 2-1 victory in game 7.
At that time, Crosby became the youngest Captain in NHL history to lead their team to win the Stanley Cup. A record in which he still holds even to this day (21 years 10 months 5 days).
Fleury posted a .913 save % average for the Penguins in the 4th round that secured the franchises third Stanley Cup in club history.
How Fleury Won His 1st Career Stanley Cup Vs. Detroit In Game 7
2010-15 (Penguins Struggled In The Stanley Cup Playoffs)
In this span Fleury severely struggled in net for Pittsburgh where he recorded 22 wins, 26 losses and averaged a save % of .892 which included a 3.00 GAA that was not the type of performance he put forth for the Penguins during their 2008 and 2009 run(s) at Lord Stanley.
Those 6 bad years resulted in multiple early round exits in which Pittsburgh was knocked out in the first two rounds 5 times and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals once where they lost to the 2013 Stanley Cup Finalists Boston Bruins in a 4 game series sweep.
2015-16 (Fleury Returns To The Stanley Cup Finals As A BackUp)
This run for Lord Stanley, saw Matt Murray as Head Coach Mike Sullivan‘s go to man between the pipes for the Penguins as the rookie took the team and carried them on his back with a 15-6 performance that included an impressive 2.08 GAA and a very good save % of .923. Fleury served as Murray’s backup.
Fleury played in two games during that run and recorded a loss and allowed 4 goals.
The Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks in 6 games where they won their 4th Stanley Cup at SAP Center in the Bay Area.
Fleury Wins His 2nd Stanley Cup
2016-17 (The Fleury And Murray Show To The Stanley Cup Finals)
In his final run at Lord Stanley wearing the Penguin uniform, both Fleury and Murray shared the load this time.
Fleury went 9-6-0 thru that included the early stages in the Eastern Conference Finals only to see Murray take over for the rest of the way and into the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Nashville where he went 7-3.
Thru 15 games, Fleury had a .924 save % and a GAA of 2.56. Murray in last 10 contests as their backstopper posted an impressive 1.70 GAA and had a better save % than Flower at .937.
Murray shutout the Predators in game 6 of the finals where the Penguins defeated Nashville at Bridgestone Arena 2-0 that clinched their 5th Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Fleury’s Gets His 3rd And Final Stanley Cup As A Penguin
With the incredible first season by the Golden Knights, Fleury and company hope to bring the “City Of Las Vegas” their first ever Stanley Cup home to “Sin City”.
They are currently 51-22-7 with 109 points and are seated in third place overall in the Western Conference behind the Jets and Predators.