The Pittsburgh Penguins stated today that backup netminder Tomas Vokoun will start in net for the team when they host the New York Islanders for Game 5 of their series.
“We brought Tomas Vokoun in to play big games for us and be a goaltender we could count on to go in and play big games,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “He’s done that this year for us and he has been very good against the Islanders in three games he’s played against the Islanders. We’re getting a guy who’s real capable at going in and has been a great goalie for us.”
The move comes at the expense of Marc-Andre Fleury, who played in 33 games this year, winning 23 with a 2.39 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. However, in four starts this postseason, Fleury has a 3.40 goals against average with a .891 save percentage. Fleury allowed six goals on 24 shots in the team’s 6-4 loss in Game 4 on Tuesday.
In his past 16 postseason games, Fleury has let in four or more goals in 10 of those contests, including an incredible 26 goals in six games last season against the Philadelphia Flyers.
“Obviously, we know it was a tough night,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “He’s won a Stanley Cup and has a ton of experience. He’s shown numerous times he can bounce back so we have confidence in him, for sure.”
Thursday’s Game 5 in Pittsburgh could be pivotal for the Penguins. Losing the game would give New York a 3-2 series lead and the chance to close out the series at home in Game 6.
Vokoun has appeared in just two playoff series in his career, both with the Nashville Predators. He is 3-8 with a 2.47 GAA, .922 save percentage and one shutout in 11 postseason games.
The Penguins signed the 36-year-old Vokoun to a two-year contract last summer. The NHL veteran, who has also spent time with the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals, went 13-4 for the Penguins during the regular season with a 2.45 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.