Blame the D, not Fleury

I’m hearing alot of people calling out Marc-Andre Fleury and blaming him for giving up soft goals.

Was I the only one watching?  Fleury got hung out to dry by his forwards and defensemen on more than one occasion.  The team lost it’s composure after two goals in the opening five minutes and was forced to chase for much of the game.

To prove my point, I’ve gone through each Philadelphia goal to display where things went wrong.

Carter’s goal came on a great toe-drag move and then a backhander past Fleury, who was significantly screened by Sergei Gonchar.  Fleury wasn’t able to react until Carter had already made his second move.  Fleury didn’t get to see that second move because of Gonchar and his reaction was too late.

I’m not blaming Gonch and saying he was out of position.  He was trying to play the shot and obstruct the shooter.  It’s just that he was positioned to perfectly screen Fleury.

Richards threw a puck to the goal mouth and it deflected off of Hal Gill’s stick and in.  Bad break, 2-0 Flyers on two shots.

Giroux’s goal came on a break where three Penguins bit on one player.  Fleury followed the man with the puck, not knowing he had no backside help.  Giroux was there to knock the puck into an empty net.

The fourth Flyer goal was shorthanded.  No goal, I dont carre how weak it looks, is a goalies fault if it is shorthanded.  There’s no excuse for that.  I know the Flyers have been great at scoring shorthanded goals this season … not an excuse.  That goal changed the game.

Fleury didn’t get into too much trouble with his own play until he gave up the fifth goal on a rebound.  The rebounds he was giving up had been long and abundant all day.  He got caught on this one.

Goal No. 6 was of the empty net variety.

So instead of blaming the netminder, look at the other circumstances.  The power play was 1-for-7.  It seemed like no one was ever infront of the net.

Petr Sykora had several opportunities to break out of his “funk” with shots in the slot.  Nothing came of them.

The Penguins were outshot 30-29.  That hasn’t been happening very often under Dan Bylsma.  The defense needs to limit opportunities better.

This was bound to happen.  If you expected the Flyers to lay an egg in thier first playoff game at home you’re crazy.  What’s important is that the Pens split in Philly.  It doesn’t matter which game.

Did you notice how quiet that building got when Rob Scuderi scored to open the second period?  If the Pens can weather the first five minutes and score the first goal they’ll be alright.

But that’s easier said than done.

GO PENS

Chris | PPT

“Avenge 6-4-08”

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