Penguins notebook: Fleury continues career-best pace
NEWARK, N.J. — The Penguins will play a lot the rest of November.
So will their top goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury.
He started against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at Prudential Center. That marked his first starts in games played on consecutive nights since March 17-18, 2012.
Fleury has started 17 of the Penguins' opening 20 games, an 85 percent rate that would amount to about 70 starts in the 82-game regular season.
“Part of the rationale at this point in time is the workload during the games,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “It's not been real taxing.”
Fleury had faced 25 or fewer shots in six of nine starts dating to Oct. 21, including four of six contests.
His career high for appearances is 67 in the 2011-12 season.
He produced a career-worst save percentage (.834) and goals-against average (4.63) in the 2012 playoffs, and the Penguins believed his performance was hurt by emotional and physical fatigue.
They traded for veteran Tomas Vokoun that offseason so Fleury would not have to carry such a heavy workload during the regular season.
However, Vokoun is out until at least December, and possibly the season, because of surgery to dissolve a blood clot.
With Vokoun out, AHL veteran Jeff Zatkoff is serving as the Penguins' No. 2 goalie. He has made three starts, the last coming Nov. 2.
The Penguins are in a stretch of 11 games in 16 days. Their next back-to-back situation is Nov. 22-23.
Bylsma said Fleury is the preferred goalie for home games. He has started all but one this season. The Penguins have only three more games at Consol Energy Center during this busy run.
Center Zach Sill, recalled from the AHL on Friday, played in his first NHL game against the Devils. He replaced Joe Vitale in the Penguins' lineup.
Bylsma said Sill's promotion was not necessitated because of an injury to a Penguins forward.
“There was a point early on in the season when we called up three or four guys,” Bylsma said. “Zach was playing real well (at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) at the particular time, (but) we were working for more of a third-line type of guy, or a guy who could even play higher in the lineup.
“This is an opportunity to get Zach up here. We have a roster spot.”
Sill, a fan favorite with the AHL Penguins, had scored a goal and produced four points in 13 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Around the boards
Vitale, forward Dustin Jeffrey and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo were healthy scratches. … The Penguins are scheduled to be off Sunday. Their opponent Monday night, the Anaheim Ducks, will practice in Pittsburgh. The Ducks' visit will mark Teemu Selanne's last game in Pittsburgh barring a Stanley Cup Final between Anaheim and the Penguins.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.