Marc-Andre Fleury is the ultimate “team guy.” He may be the best teammate in the entire NHL.
As the starting job slipped away from him following a Game 3 loss in which he was pulled after allowing four goals in the first period, Fleury was just as supportive as he’s always been of his Penguins teammates.
He watched from the bench in Game 4 as his Penguins evened the Eastern Conference Final. Up until now, Fleury was perhaps Pittsburgh’s leader in the Conn Smythe Trophy race, and he could have made a bigger deal of his sudden demotion.
But Fleury isn’t that time of person.
“I don’t want to make this about me,” Fleury said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Last playoff, this season, it’s about the team. We won [Game 4]. Scored some goals. That was nice.”
This is the second season in a row that Fleury has lost the job to 22-year-old Matt Murray. The youngster took over the playoff job last season after appearing in just 13 regular season games because Fleury was injured. This season, Murray went in as the No. 1, but he was injured in pre-game warmups prior to Game 1 against Columbus and Fleury unexpectedly had to take on a bigger role again.
Fleury was one of the best stories of the playoffs until Game 3 closed the book. With a depleted Pittsburgh blue line and major injury issues throughout the lineup, Fleury was made the scapegoat after that loss and really wasn’t to blame. The Penguins had scored just three goals against Ottawa in the first three games of the series.
Nevertheless, Murray is the guy the Penguins will undoubtedly move forward with after this season, when Fleury is likely to move this summer either via trade, or to Vegas in the expansion draft.
The always-smiling Fleury is just rolling with it, happy for his younger teammate and that the Penguins are six wins away from repeating as Stanley Cup champions.
“Matt played great,” Fleury said. “We got the win. That’s what mattered.”