Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Picimg_pittsburgh_penguins_vs_3f5d
Dan Bylsma and the Pittsburgh Penguins apparently could only watch so much. There’s only so much you can take when you have one of the most talented rosters in all of hockey, yet you’re struggling to get out of the first round for what would be the third straight season. The obvious continuing (and disturbing) trend for the Penguins and their fans is the play in goal of Marc-Andre Fleury. The former No. 1 pick has been shaky at best and awful at worse for the better part of three straight playoffs now. The Pittsburgh netminder hit a new low Tuesday night into Wednesday, however. Fleury gave up six goals in the Penguins’ Game 4 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Bylsma made the change that needed to be made. The Pittsburgh head coach announced backup Tomas Vokoun would make the start in the pivotal Game 5. One would think that the job is now Vokoun’s to lose, especially the way Fleury has played in net. Fleury’s postseason struggles date back to the 2011 playoffs. Aside from a Game 2 loss in which he gave up four goals, he was really good, good enough to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 series lead against Tampa Bay. From there, though, it was a meltdown. He gave up four goals in Game 5, an 8-2 whooping from the Lightning. He then gave up four more in Game 6. Fleury rebounded in Game 7 giving up just a goal, but Dwayne Roloson was better, and the Penguins were gone. Last season was even worse. Fleury gave up 17 goals in the first three games, as Pittsburgh would fall behind 3-0 in the series. The Pens pushed it to a Game 6, only for Fleury to give up four more goals. Now, here he is just four games into this year’s playoffs. After shutting out the Islanders in Game 1, he’s allowed 14 goals in the three games that followed. Add it all up, and Fleury has allowed 40 goals in his last 10 playoff games, and 59 in his last 13. That’s not the only excuse for the Penguins, though. They didn’t have Sidney Crosby in 2011. Gone, too, that year was Evgeni Malkin. Their defensive corps, while not filled with Norris candidates this year, isn’t as bad as it was last year. The D-men were just as much to blame in 2012 as anything else. But this year was supposed to be different. Crosby and Malkin are both healthy. Chris Kunitz is having a career year. Kris Letang is a Norris candidate. Ray Shero went out and plucked veteran forwards Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow as well as big defenseman Doug Murray at the deadline. This team is loaded, everyone said. Except for in between the pipes. That one glaring question mark has become the all-too-obvious reason as to why the Islanders actually have a chance to derail the Penguins’ march to the Stanley Cup. For that, Bylsma and the rest of the Penguins coaching staff had to make a move. So now they turn to Vokoun, hoping he can at least be solid. That’s what must make Fleury’s struggles so infuriating for the Pens. They just need Fleury, basically, to not suck. The Penguins are going to score, and they’re going to be in position to win games. They don’t need someone to stand on his head, they just need someone who won’t blow up like Fleury has all too often. Vokoun should, in theory, be an improvement. His success against the Islanders probably makes the decision even easier. He’s appeared in four games this season against the Islanders and he’s made three starts. In those games, he’s 3-0-1 having stopped 98 of the 101 shots. So there’s the potential for him to be good. But the biggest thing he’s got going for him right now is that he’s not Marc-Andre Fleury. For that, the job is now his.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Pats employee taking footballs into bathroom on video

Greg Anthony caught offering $80 to undercover officer for sex

Robert Kraft wants apology from NFL if nothing found

NFL may be very close to returning to Los Angeles

Report: Kobe definitely returning next season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Yankees don't want to pay A-Rod home run bonuses

Browner wants Patriots to injure Sherman, Thomas

Report: Rams, other teams interested in Nick Foles

Tom Brady: 'My feelings got hurt' in Deflategate controversy

Odell Beckham Jr. says he played with two hamstring tears

Pete Carroll empathizes with Belichick, Pats in Deflategate

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early B1G predictions for 2015

Remembering Ernie Banks

Allenby rang up $3,400 strip club bill on night of 'kidnapping'

Brady's dad: QB's relationship with Pats 'will end badly'

WATCH: Skittles Super Bowl commercial looks ridiculous

The five best Super Bowl defenses of all time

Mark Brunell explains why he got emotional over Deflategate

NFL was profiting off Marshawn Lynch's crotch grab

NFL finally getting its own YouTube channel

20 most amazing stats in Super Bowl history

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early Big Ten predictions for 2015

Remembering Ernie Banks

Pats employee took footballs into restroom?

Report: Kobe not retiring

More questions about Allenby's story

Yanks don't want to pay A-Rod bonuses

Looking back at Super Bowls 1-48

Super Bowl MVPs through the years

The five best Super Bowl defenses

Burnell explains why he got emotional

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.