The fact that Marc-Andre Fleury made 42 saves in Wednesday night's Game 4 contest with the Columbus Blue Jackets was lost immediately following Nick Foligno's overtime winner. Actually, it was probably lost after Brandon Dubinsky tied the game with under 30 seconds to go, thanks to a horribly misplayed puck by the Penguins goaltender.
It's generally considered in poor taste to toss the word "enigma" around when speaking of professional athletes. Fleury, though, typifies the definition of the word. The former first overall draft pick was once near-elite, but now hovers around league average in terms of save percentage. Fleury is a good, not great, NHL goaltender. He makes highlight reel stops, like the one that preserved the Penguins lead over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final. He also has a propensity to misplay puck handling opportunities that end up costing his team a goal.
Fleury wandered from his crease late in the third period on Wednesday night in an attempt to play the puck, which ended up bouncing its way to Dubinsky and giving the Blue Jackets the opportunity to play for the win in overtime. Foligno would send the series back to Pittsburgh all tied up with something resembling a batting practice fastball that slipped through an embattled Fleury. For all the great Fleury's accomplished, his bad moments sure are memorable. Here is the worst of Marc-Andre Fleury.
Dubinsky ties it up late in Game 4
The recipe for a Penguins collapse is one part weird bounce, one part overly aggressive backcheck, one part Fleury attempting to play the puck. Result: tied game.
Foligno's softie gives Blue Jackets Game 4 win
Goaltender apologists may say you can't blame Fleury, but c'mon, you gotta stop that.
Fleury shouldn't play the puck exhibit 8.14
Derek Stepan of the Rangers gets a freebie here thanks to more mishandling of the biscuit by Fleury.
The Fleury-ist Fleury goal ever Fleury'd?
Alex Edler of the Vancouver Canucks with your run-of-the-mill goal from center ice.
Bad bounces find the back of the net
It's a bit of tough break for Fleury versus the Islanders on this one from earlier this season. The puck takes a bounce of the end boards and another bounce off Fleury.
The Flyers have Fleury's number
One of several goofs versus the Flyers in the 2012 postseason.
Fleury's stick gets stuck in the boards
Fleury can't leave the net without losing something. It's usually his dignity or a late one-goal lead, but in this instance it's his goalie stick.
Fleury can't elude official on path to fight to Peter Budaj
The fight that never had a chance. Probably the best outcome for everyone involved.
Fleury flubs clearing attempt, gives up WJC game winner
The threat of a catastrophe when Fleury plays the puck goes way back. Here he attempted to clear the zone, but instead fired one off of teammate Braydon Coburn, giving Patrick O'Sullivan the game winner in the gold medal game at the 2004 World Junior Championship.
We could keep going. In fact, we could probably include a clip of the entire 2012 series versus the Flyers. Alas, Fleury has suffered enough for one 24-hour period. Better days ahead?
Feature photo courtesy of Charles LeClaire / Reuters