Pittsburgh Penguins Time Capsules: The Return of Marc-Andre Fleury?

Pittsburgh Penguins, Marc-Andre Fleury. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Marc-Andre Fleury. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

On May 5, 2014, Marc Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins collected his second consecutive shutout against the New York Rangers and set two franchise records in a 2-0 win in game 3 of the second round of the Playoffs.

Following the Pittsburgh Penguins collapse in the 2013 Conference Finals against the Boston Bruins and four years of diminishing results in the postseason, Marc-Andre Fleury began working with a sports psychologist to assist in resurrecting his career.

The Way Back

For new fans of the Penguins who might not know about or have forgotten about this era in the team’s history, Fleury became the face of failure for Pittsburgh’s inability to see any sustained post-season success.

The work focused on conditioning the mental aspects of Fleury’s performance and put an emphasis on his overall health.

With Tomas Vokoun sidelined for the entire season with a blood clot, and Jeff Zatkoff having little to no playoff experience, the Penguins had little choice but to hope Fleury would re-establish himself as the heroic netminder that backstopped Pittsburgh to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and 2009.

After allowing 20 goals in the first-round vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Fleury and the Penguins captured the series in six games.

During that time, Fleury showed flashes of the past and displayed that he was getting more comfortable in high-pressure situations again, where he used to flourish.

Building Confidence

The Penguins lost Game 1 vs. Rangers by a score of 3-2, as Derick Brassard notched the game-winning goal 3 minutes and 6 seconds into overtime. Fleury made 24 saves on 27 shots in the game.

On May 3, 2014, Fleury made 22 saves in Pittsburgh’s 3-0 victory over the Rangers to earn the 50th playoff victory of his career and 7th postseason shutout, surpassing Tom Barrasso‘s team record of six.

Fleury faced 22 shots in the game, with Brad Richards of the Rangers firing six shots at the net.

On May 5, Fleury had a much busier night, as he faced 35 shots from Rangers shooters (Raphael Diaz – 6,  Rick Nash – 4, Brassard -3) in Pittsburgh’s 2-0 win.

Although he established the franchise record in the previous game, Fleury padded his total and put together consecutive shutouts for the first time in his career.

Along with making history for himself, it was also the first time in Penguins playoff history that a goaltender achieved back-to-back shutouts.

Not All Bad

The game was also the first time since the 1937 Stanley Cup Final vs. Detroit Red Wings that the Rangers had been blanked in consecutive playoff games.

While the wins certainly provided Fleury with a boost of confidence, it was short-lived, as the Penguins surrendered a 3-1 series lead and ended up with another early summer.

Fleury allowed five goals through the first four games of the series and 10 goals in the final three games.

How do you think Fleury performed for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2014?

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