Tim Benz: Fleury burned as Caps stars dazzle
The Pittsburgh Penguins return to PPG Paints Arena tonight. Las Vegas is in town for a 7 p.m. faceoff. Neither Matt Murray nor Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal.
Murray is out with a concussion. Fleury is scheduled for a night off. That was planned even before he got smoked by the Capitals last night in Washington, D.C.
Fleury yielded 20 goals in five games to the Caps during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Last night, he stayed on average giving up four more on 24 shots en route to a 5-2 Washington victory.
The Caps superstars were in high gear. Alex Ovechkin had two goals. Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and three assists. Nicklas Backstrom scored. And T.J. Oshie added an empty-netter.
The remarkable passing skills possessed by Washington were really on point last night. Check out Backstrom doing what he always does on the power play to set up Kuznetsov on the first goal.
Then these passes were all beautiful. From John Carlson clearing the zone, then a tip pass to Kuznetsov who dangles after pulling up with a feed to Ovechkin.
Kuznetsov eventually returned the earlier favor from Backstrom as they reversed positions on the man-up again. He couldn't have possibly been more precise here.
That made it 3-1. Then watch Kuznetsov work with Ovi on the rush.
As former Penguin Brooks Orpik said of Kuznetsov on NBCSN, "Kuzy is on a different level. As you watch him, he gets better and better every game.
"He just slows the game right down. It's fun to watch. Even on his own team, you just stop, and stare, and watch him sometimes."
Yeah. I know. I hate them, too.
But Washington's stars were dazzling last night. And Fleury was the victim. He's already allowed 14 goals in four starts. So Malcolm Subban giving him a night off may not be a bad idea.
With Murray out, the Penguins plan to counter with Casey DeSmith.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @TimBenzPGH. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.