Martin St. Louis, Marc-Andre Fleury

Fleury’s ups and downs make the New York Times


Remember a couple of weeks ago when everyone was busy wondering about Marc-Andre Fleury’s mental state?

OK, fine, maybe not everyone was busy wondering about it. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma insists his players have never lost faith in their goalie, and we’re not about to call him a liar.

But there’s a reason the New York Times felt Fleury was a compelling enough figure to write about, complete with a headline that started, “Once Shaky in Postseason…”

From Greg Norman to Peyton Manning, whenever an athlete develops a reputation, deserved or not, for folding under the pressure, that athlete becomes more interesting to watch in pressure situations. Especially since, once an athlete’s been labeled a “choker,” it’s really, really hard to shake that label.

Oh, and the fact the Penguins enlisted a sports psychologist to help Fleury (said Bylsma: “I think the mental toughness, the mental approach, the mental side of the game is something that needs to be a focus”) didn’t do anything to deter the narrative.

But it’s clearly a narrative that Fleury is sick of talking about.

From the Times:

Fleury bristled when asked if the professional help he received after his repeated playoff failures had fixed a flaw in his approach.

“I answered that already, I’m not talking about it again,” he said as his equipment was packed for the trip back to Pittsburgh. “You can look it up.”

Fleury has been excellent against the Rangers, posting two shutouts and a .949 save percentage. But there’s still a long way to go before the Penguins reach their ultimate goal, with pressure situations aplenty along the way.

Game 5 of the series goes Friday in Pittsburgh.

Of course: Ryan Suter wins it for Wild vs. ‘Hawks after those wild quotes

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You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”

Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.

Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.

Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?

As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).

Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.

Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.

It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.

Hey look: Flyers reel off three straight wins for first time in 2015-16

Sean Couturier
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When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.

The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.

Joy abounded.

Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.

Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.

If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.

This own-goal captures the start of Dougie Hamilton’s Flames career

Dougie Hamilton
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Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.

(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)

You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …

… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.

Senators lose Michalek, Zibanejad to injuries vs. Flyers

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It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.

The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.

Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.

Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.

Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.

The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.