Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been a scapegoat/just-plain-goat enough times that Wednesday’s collapse against the Columbus Blue Jackets might not even be his lowest moment. That said, even if it wasn’t unquestionably his rock bottom moment, it was still awful for him.
In fact, things were ugly enough that the Penguins’ living legend/partial owner/guy who received statue treatment Mario Lemieux felt the need to visit the team’s locker room to console the struggling netminder.
Without proper context in what was said to the 29-year-old goalie, it feels sort of like a netminder’s answer to a GM giving a coach a “vote of confidence.” Still, it’s a nice gesture from Lemieux.
Here are the two goals in which Fleury seemed to unravel:
As you may remember, Fleury struggled enough to find himself on the bench during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, but Tomas Vokoun isn’t (currently?) available to try to save the day. In case you’re curious, here’s a quick comparison between the regular season numbers Fleury and his 26-year-old, little-known backup Jeff Zatkoff generated in 2013-14:
Fleury: 39-18-5 with 2.37 GAA and .915 save percentage in 64 games played
Zatkoff: 12-6-2 with 2.61 GAA and .912 save percentage in 20 GP
Zatkoff isn’t very experienced, so maybe Lemieux really was going out of his way of saying “Don’t read anything on the Internet, because you’re our guy.” But we can only speculate.
Let’s assume Lemieux was looking a little more dapper, like he was during the Penguins’ championship run quite a while ago: