Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pennsylvania Goaltending Woes Continue

1) What other conclusion could one gain after watching M. A Fleury of the Penguins and the day before Ray Emory of the Flyers give their teams sub par net minding allowing their opponents to cruise to victory.  In the case of Fleury it was especially egregious.  He allowed the Blue Jackets to make a unexpected come back from a 3 goal deficit.  The game tying goal scored after Fleury wandered from his net in the final 30 seconds, allowing the Jackets an easy lay-up to tie it. Then topping it off with a horrendous OT game winner that was as routine as it comes.

2) At least Philadelphia has another viable option if Mason is indeed healthy (if he backed up he must be right?)  Where as the Penguins, unlike last spring have little choice but to return with the shaky 'Flower' because Tomas Vokoun is probably no where near in game shape after missing months with a blood clot. Last season you may recall Vokoun saved the Pens bacon in their opening round 7 game series win over the Islanders when Fleury (again) was letting in goals from everywhere.  All teams need solid goaltending if they are to survive the Stanley Cup playoffs.

3) In the case of the Penguins, despite their obvious advantage in the standings and on paper, the great equalizer is their weakness in goal.  If they had reliable, solid tending, the Jackets would be done.  However, Fleury has been anything but solid, and not inspiring his team with confidence in front of him.  Meanwhile across the state in Philly the annual goaltending issue has again reared its ugly head.  In the case here, the Rangers would appear to be the better team, and in order for Philly to have a chance they would have to get superior goaltending. Something they haven't had consistently in the playoffs since Hall of Famer Bernie Parent wore #1 for the Orange and Black.  They thought they had this issue settled with Mason, but injury prevented him from starting the first 3 games.  Can/will he return and be a difference maker, or will he and Emory be added to a LONG list of Flyer goalies who had good regular seasons and flops in the spring?    Problems in net in Pennsylvania, indeed!

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