Harrison Leipold – Penguins Playoffs Update


Three games into the Penguins first round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, it is very apparent that they will be a tough out this spring with or without Sidney Crosby.  Up 2-1 in the series, the Pens continue to somehow find ways to win games without their two biggest stars.  With Evgeni Malkin already out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL, it remains to be seen whether or not Crosby will return at some point from a concussion suffered in early January.  If he does return, the Penguins will quickly become one of the favorites out of the remaining teams to once again hoist the Stanley Cup.  If he does not, it is widely believed that the Pens can make it no further than the second round.  Don’t tell Marc-Andre Fleury that.

With the Penguins struggling to find goal scorers in their offense that does not include Crosby or Malkin, it is no secret that the key to victory is good goaltending.  The Pens are not going to win any 6-5 games with their current lineup, so they have to find ways to grind out 2-1 or 3-2 victories and so far they have.  In Game One at the Consol Energy Center, Fleury made 32 saves in his fifth career playoff shut-out to give the Pens a 3-0 victory.  In Game Two, however, he made only 16 saves and gave up four goals which lead to a 5-1 Tampa Bay victory.  As troubling as this was, Marc-Andre Fleury has been one of the best at rebounding from a bad game over the past few years.  This trend continued as the series shifted to the St. Pete Times Forum for Game Three.  In a 3-2 Penguins victory, Fleury gave up only two goals and had 25 saves to help the team regain the series edge.

With Fleury as hot as he is right now, it is hard to believe that the Penguins will be denied by the Lightning.  Despite the fact that the Pittsburgh power play is a pathetic 0-13 so far in the series, they have still managed to win two of the first three because of the goaltending.  It remains uncertain whether or not we will see Sidney Crosby on the ice again for any playoff action, but what is certain is that this team will go as far as Marc Andre-Fleury takes them.