Fleury’s true comeback bid starts tonight

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As far as Sidney Crosby is concerned, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury doesn’t need defending after posting a 39-18-5 record, 2.37 GAA, and .915 save percentage in 64 games this season.

“The way he’s played speaks for itself,” Crosby told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Me having to defend him at this point is pretty funny. He’s done everything he’s had to do to bounce back.”

Has he though? More to the point, was there anything he could have done to bounce back between his 2013 playoff collapse and tonight?

Over the last four campaigns, Fleury has been consistently solid in the regular season, but has seen a significant drop off once the playoffs start, so the fact that he did well in 2013-14 is in some ways moot because that doesn’t deviate from the troubling pattern. Now though, he has a chance to put his past shortcomings behind him, starting with tonight’s contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Fleury is looking forward to it.

“I know I can do it,” Fleury said. “I know we have a solid team. I’ll try my best to get to it again.”

He has done it before, though the Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup championship seems like a distant memory now. If he can do it again, then his comeback will be complete. If he collapses this time though, then the Penguins might go in a different direction between the pipes despite his continued regular season success.