Penguins' Fleury off bench, back among NHL elite
Despite implementing rule changes for the 2013-14 season that shrunk the size of goalie leg pads and created more space behind the net by making it shallower, the NHL hasn't seen an uptick in scoring (5.52 goals per game) compared to 2012-13 (5.48). Marc-Andre Fleury certainly hasn't been bothered, as the Penguins' goalie is enjoying the best season of his decade-long career to this point.
Fleury faltered in the playoffs last season, mostly sitting on the bench as the Penguins were swept by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference final. But the 28-year-old is stopping pucks at an elite level in 2013-14, carrying the load with backup Tomas Vokoun out following surgery to remove a blood clot from his pelvis.
Fleury is having his best year yet as measured by GA%-, which compares a player's percentage of goals allowed to the league average and puts it on a scale where 100 is exactly average. The lower the number the better. Fleury's GA%- this season is 18 percent better than the league average, easily topping his Stanley Cup-winning performance in 2008-09:
Fleury's greatest hits
Fleury is preventing lamp lightings at the best clip among goalies in the new-look Metropolitan Division and ranks sixth among all netminders who have played in at least five games. If Fleury's GA%- holds up, it would be the best for a regular Penguins goalie since Hockey-Reference began tracking the stat 30 years ago.
Goalie Team GA%-
Tuukka Rask Bruins 50
Josh Harding Wild 55
Semyon Varlamov Avalanche 61
Jonathan Bernier Maple Leafs 75
Carey Price Canadiens 75
Marc-Andre Fleury Penguins 82
Dave Golebiewski is a freelance writer.