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Penguins goaltender looks for form heading into playoffs

| Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Marc-Andre Fleury might have just one or two chances to find his playoff form before the postseason begins, but the goalie said he believes he'll be ready.

And feeling confident.

And likely rested.

"I'm not happy losing those games," said Fleury, who has lost three straight, including Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, "but I'm not worried, either, that it's going to be a bad playoffs."

He said his past three games have been disappointing, including two losses to the division's last-place New York Islanders. This is just the second time all season Fleury has lost more than two consecutive games.

And it comes at a bad time, with the playoffs little more than a week away.

"But I'm not going to panic and change my game a lot because of that," Fleury said. "(I will) watch some tapes and try to learn from my mistakes."

The Penguins have three games left, including tonight in Boston against the Bruins. They play Thursday against the New York Rangers and Saturday against the Flyers, both at Consol Energy Center.

Coach Dan Bylsma said Monday that Fleury would play "another game or two" before the playoffs.

But Bylsma won't try to build momentum for the postseason by sacrificing Fleury's rest. The 27-year-old has played 65 games and soon will pass his career high of 67.

"We're going to stick to the schedule," Bylsma said. "He'll get the rest that we think is in his best interests to be rested up for the playoffs."

Fleury said he doesn't need a long winning streak entering the playoffs to feel confident, "just good games."

"Definitely wins are always nice," he said, "but it's more about how you play. Sometimes you win and don't deserve it."

Fleury's teammates said the goalie's three-game slide is not his fault. The team has lost four of its past six.

"We've just got to get our team back on track," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "When (Fleury's) going, we're going. And when we're going, he's going. It's easy to point at a goalie. He's the one constant. But I think we've just got to take a little pressure off him by being a little tighter defensively."

In his past three losses, there were "a lot of goals," said Fleury, who allowed 14 in an eight-period span, but they weren't all simple stops.

An "unlucky bounce here or there cost us," he said.

He allowed one Sunday that bounced off defenseman Zbynek Michalek.

"It might not have been our best hockey lately," Fleury said, "but we've still got some time to work on some stuff."

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