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Playoff Preview: Henrik Lundqvist vs Marc-Andre Fleury

Playoff Preview: Henrik Lundqvist vs Marc-Andre Fleury

Injury restricted Henrik Lundqvist to just 46 games this season, but the Rangers No. 1 still reached the 30-win marker for the ninth time in his career.

His counter part Marc-Andre Fleury also passed 30 wins for the second season in a row and led the NHL with 10 shutouts, but saw his Penguins side stumble in to the post season amid a sea of injuries. How each goalie overcomes those late-season challenges could play a role in who advances to the second round:

LundqvistFleury
Henrik Lundqvist

2014/15 Statistics
Save % GAA GSAA Even Strength Save % Adjusted Save % High-Danger Save %
.922 2.25 10.43 .930 .930 .832

Henrik Lundqvist’s inside-out game is no secret to NHL shooters; but beating “The King” remains one of the toughest feats in hockey.

While the veteran Swede likes to sit deep in his crease, Lundqvist’s incredible patience means beating him high isn’t easy. He utilizes reactive half butterfly saves, rather than defaulting to the blocking butterfly many goaltenders fall back on and can expose the top of the net.

The Penguins best chance to expose Lundqvist may be to aim low, creating scrambles in front of his net, to exploit one of the 33-year old’s few weaknesses.

Lundqvist rarely uses reverse-VH, preferring traditional VH when playing against his post. As a result of being locked in to this blocking save, he can be vulnerable to shots from the goal line, whether its players stepping out of the corner or shots from the wing, with rebounds spilled and the occasional bad angle shot squeezing through.

Marc-Andre Fleury

2014/15 Statistics
Save % GAA GSAA Even Strength Save % Adjusted Save % High-Danger Save %
.920 2.32 10.28 .926 .937 .837

Marc-Andre Fleury has made significant strides to improve his game in recent seasons.

A tendency to overplay many situations left him vulnerable to attacks from below the goal line, or shots fired off the end boards; which led to scrambles around the Penguins goal.

Implementation of the reverse-VH and more conservative positioning stables have led to a more contained style, that have helped minimise the extremes we used to see in Fleury’s game.

The 30-year old is fiercely competitive and still possesses great speed, meaning he is rarely completely out of a play, but at 6-foot-2 is slightly undersized and can revert to dropping in to a blocking butterfly through heavy traffic, limiting his ability to use his reactive elements effectively and leaving him vulnerable to screens and tips in front. And if the Penguins injury-riddled defense continues to give up the type of Grade-A chances they did late in the season, Pittsburgh is going to need Fleury at his reactive best to have a chance.

About The Author

Rob McGregor

A member of In Goal Magazine's editorial team, Rob is also the editor of the One Puck Short blog and host of the One Puck Short podcast . A former goaltender in Great Britain's third tier National League (NIHL), Rob also writes for Today's Slapshot and has previously written for a number of other outlets, including the BBC.

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