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Pens stick with Vokoun for Game 1 vs. Ottawa

May 14, 2013, 11:31 AM EDT

Tomas Vokoun Getty Images

There will be no goalie switch in Pittsburgh for the start of the Eastern Conference semifinal against Ottawa.

On Tuesday, Tomas Vokoun confirmed he’d be starting his third straight playoff game for the Pens after relieving Marc-Andre Fleury for Game 5 of the Islanders series.

“[I’m] just trying to keep it on an even keel and not get too excited about stuff,” Vokoun said. “Only thing that matters is if we get the win in the end.”

This will mark the first time since 2001 that Pittsburgh will open a series without Fleury starting in goal.

Fleury, 28, started 79 straight playoff games for the Pens prior to getting the hook after a 6-4 loss in Game 4 of the opening round.

Vokoun, meanwhile, hadn’t participated in the playoffs since 2007 prior to coming in in Game 5.

He’s proceeded to go 2-0 with a .957 save percentage and 1.41 GAA, posting a shutout in his first postseason start with the Penguins.

  1. cavafox - May 14, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Stats and history don’t matter.

    Vokoun is the hot goalie, he gets the start. This is the entire reason we brought him here. He has a bad game and Fleury can come back in to the rescue but until then, Vokouna – matatata.

  2. bgrillz - May 14, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Ride the hot hand. A win is a win, no matter who does it. Voukun stumbles, Fleury will come in and play with a chip on his shoulder. So it’s a win win.

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 14, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      You don’t think Fleury’s confidence (or lack there of) will be an issue if he’s called into action? He almost single-handedly derailed the Pens season then had to watch as his backup saved the day. I don’t think there’s any question Fleury is his own worst enemy and would be a significant liability.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 14, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        If a goalie can’t mentally deal with this situation at this point in his career he better start looking for a day job. You have to be mentally tough to be a goalie, and to win a SC.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        That defense in front of him didn’t seem to help too much

      • phillyphanatic77 - May 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        I don’t doubt Fleury’s physical ability, but everyone saw how down on himself he was after he was pulled. You don’t think his last couple playoff performances are on his mind? The minute he lets in a soft goal he seems to crumble. Yes he won a Cup, and he’s been a good playoff goalie in the past, but he is extremely mentally fragile right now. And seeing the team perform better without him doesn’t help. He could bounce back but Vokoun is much safer at this point.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 14, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        I disagree fleury has been all smiles in all his recent interviews and on the bench. He celebrated as much as Crosby in game 6 when Crosby split the defense. His last interview is typical fleury, all about what is best for the team. He will be back, and he will be better because of this. Goalies shake off bad starts all the time. In 09 fleury and the pens got rocked 5-0 and bounced back with 2 games allowing only 1 goal in each game. He had some bad bounces in the islanders series but really only 2 soft goals in my opinion. The only part of his game I hate is his puck playing ability.

      • phillyphanatic77 - May 14, 2013 at 5:11 PM

        Yeah but what else is he gonna do? Sulk on the bench and be miserable in interviews? He’s being a good teammate but that speaks nothing to his confidence in his own game. Each of the last four seasons his playoff save% has been below .900. He’s been very good in the regular season then subpar in the playoffs the last 4 years. Especially the last two quarterfinals. You could tell in his performance that it’s on his mind bc anytime he made a mistake it would then snowball into more. Pens fans should know that I’m a Fleury supporter (or atleast as much as a Philly fan can be), but you can’t tell me you have confidence in him right now. Bylsma sure doesn’t, or else he’d be starting game 1. Believe me, I know what a mentally fragile goalie looks like, I’ve watched Bryz the last two years, and Fleury is in that boat right now. All he needs is one dynamite game to turn it around, but the moment he lets in a softie, it could further his collapse.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 14, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        I see what your saying. My opinion is when fleury is on he’s great, when he’s off he sucks. There really isn’t much middle ground with him. I’m confident he will bounce back but as you pointed out, I don’t have a leg to stand on stats wise these last 2 years to back that up. It’s just a gut feeling. He’s no Henrik lundqvist but I’m confident he can help this team win a cup again. My thing is fleury’s best game is better then vokoun best game, but vokoun’s consistency is better then fleury’s.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 14, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        By the way I do fully support bylsma starting vokoun tonight. You can’t bench a goalie when he’s winning.

  3. jpelle82 - May 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    good on bylsma for doing the right thing here. gotta ride the hot hand and the organization has gone all out to win this year. cant jeopardize it for what some view as an obligation to fleury because of his payroll number or his draft pedigree.

  4. myspaceyourface - May 14, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    This is an EASY decision.

    Flower will be ready when called upon again.

  5. modellforprez - May 14, 2013 at 12:01 PM


  6. JoeAvg - May 14, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Wait a minute. Vokoun confirmed? I wonder if this was a slip and Bylsma’s ticked off or if Vokoun was told he could say so to the media.

  7. myroncopesflask - May 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Thank God the Pens are staying with Vokoun!! It is pretty clear the “Flower” has wilted!

  8. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 14, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Brough summed up the situation very well. “If Bylsma still feels his best chance of winning the Stanley Cup is with Fleury, or if there’s a sense of loyalty there, he can always wait for Vokoun to slip up. And if Vokoun doesn’t slip up, all the better.”

  9. csilojohnson - May 14, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Fleury wZill rebound when called upon. This is not his first rodeo. Nor the first hole he has had to climb out.

  10. colossal87 - May 14, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Look at all the filly losers on here, must suck not havin a team to watch in the playoffs hahahahaa. You guys are such pathetic failures. 1975 1975 1975 1975 1975 1975 1975 1975 1975 19755555!!!!!

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