The Tampa Bay Lightning will be facing the same goalie in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final on Sunday night in Pittsburgh that they saw in the third period of Game 4 in Tampa.
That would be Marc-Andre Fleury, who came in for Matt Murray. Head coach Mike Sullivan of the Penguins confirmed that Fleury would be starting Game 5 this morning with reporters.
Fleury did seem to spark the Pens in that third period, as Pittsburgh scored three unanswered goals. Fleury was tested early, but no biscuits found the basket for the Bolts in the third frame. Still, the Bolts hung on to win 4-3 to even the series at 2-2.
In his career versus the Bolts, Fleury is 16-11-4, with a .903 save percentage and a GAA (goals allowed average) of 2.61. Fleury has also shut out the Lightning twice in his career, while allowing 83 career goals.
In the 2015-16 season, Fleury was 0-1-1 against the Bolts, with a .769 save percentage and a whopping 5.91 GAA, as he allowed nine goals.
Fleury has also played against the Lightning once in the postseason in 2011, when he had a 3-4 record, as the Bolts came back from a 3-1 series deficit. Fleury had a .877 save percentage and allowed 17 goals.
Sullivan is hoping that the change at goalie will again cause another spark. But based on how the Bolts have handled Fleury recently, Sullivan should be careful for what he wishes for, as the spark might go the way of the Lightning.
Tampa Bay looked much more like themselves in Game 4, thanks to the efforts and leadership of Ryan Callahan.
We shall see if that same type of play for the Lightning exhibits itself on the ice tonight in Game 5. This time against Fleury, a goalie who helped lead the Pens to a Stanley Cup title in 2009.
But that was seven years ago. In the last two seasons versus the Lightning, in four games, Fleury has allowed 14 goals. That’s a 3.50 GAA. The Bolts would take that tonight. Especially with the way Andrei Vasilevskiy is playing in front of the net for Tampa Bay in this series.