REQUIEM FOR A GOALTENDER

posted by Mark Madden -

Marc-Andre Fleury’s best moments:

*2009 save on Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, Game 7.

*2017 shutout of Washington, Game 7.

*2009 save on Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin, Game 7.

*Stopping a penalty shot and making 46 saves in his 2003 NHL debut.

Everybody remembers those.

What few remember is how a vocal minority of the Penguins’ fan base turned on Fleury in 2012 when he blew up in the Penguins’ first-round playoff loss to Philadelphia, then lost his job to Tomas Vokoun in the 2013 post-season.

Those knickers remained in a twist even when Fleury performed brilliantly in the 2014 and ’15 playoffs. He posted shutouts on consecutive nights against the New York Rangers in 2014, but the failure of ’12 and ’13 still permeated.

But winning Stanley Cups is good PR. What Fleury did in last year’s playoffs while Matt Murray was injured restored his luster and then some, as did being the underdog.

Fleury might have been more popular as the Penguins' No. 2 goalie than he ever was as the No. 1 goalie.

That brings us to tonight, an evening that drips with irony. Everyone will be cheering Fleury.

But, at one time, a lot of those people weren’t.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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Mark Madden

Mark Madden

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