It might just be shrugged off as a bad performance if it was an isolated incident, but Fleury now has a 3.18 GAA and .903 save percentage in the 2014 playoffs after a solid regular season.
That follows an all-too familiar script that sees Fleury excel in the regular season and then take a step back when it matters the most. An argument can be made that he’s struggled in every playoff run since the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009.
With that in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that the reaction to Fleury’s performance on Wednesday was heavily critical despite the great saves he made earlier in the game. Here’s a sampling of the reaction on Twitter from a number of notable hockey writers and commentators:
Not only is the series tied, but Playoff Fleury is baaaack. Columbus is in this damn thing!
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.