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Penguins

Stats show Alex Ovechkin need not fear matchup with Marc-Andre Fleury

Jonathan Bombulie
| Thursday, May 24, 2018, 3:18 p.m.
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) skates in on Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) and scores in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) skates in on Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) and scores in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

On the surface, the matchup is Alex Ovechkin's biggest nightmare.

The Washington Capitals superstar, finally, in his 13th year in the NHL, makes it to the Stanley Cup Final, only to run into Marc-Andre Fleury, the nemesis responsible for stopping some of the most promising playoff runs of his career.

The numbers, however, show Ovechkin has little reason to fear.

Ovechkin has scored 22 goals on 195 shots in 38 career regular-season games against Fleury.

Those numbers actually paint Fleury in a pretty good light. Ovechkin's career shooting percentage against the former Penguins goalie is 11.3. That's not as good as his overall mark of 12.4.

In the playoffs, however, the balance tips in favor of Ovechkin, who has scored 10 times on 62 shots in 14 postseason games against Fleury. That shooting percentage of 16.1 is better than his overall career playoff mark of 11.0.

The numbers show Ovechkin's actually had a harder time scoring on Matt Murray than on Fleury in his career. His shooting percentage against Murray in both the regular season (3 for 30) and playoffs (5 for 50) is 10 percent.

The reason Fleury can sometimes be painted as Ovechkin's nemesis is largely anecdotal. Fleury has made legacy-changing, highlight-reel stops on the Capitals captain twice in his career.

In the opening moments of Game 7 of a 2009 second-round series, Fleury stopped Ovechkin with a reaching glove save on a breakaway. The Penguins went on to win, 6-2.

Late in the second period of Game 7 in a second-round series last year, with the Penguins holding a 1-0 lead, Fleury stopped an Ovechkin shot with the shaft of his stick. The Penguins went on to a 2-0 victory.

On both occasions, the Penguins claimed the Stanley Cup eight wins later.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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