With Marc-Andre Fleury in goal, Pens have been on a roll
PITTSBURGH -- Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury became a first-time dad on Friday when his wife, Veronique, gave birth to daughter Estelle.
Not long after that, Fleury turned his attention and focus toward the NHL playoffs.
The Penguins, who enter Game 1 of their opening-round series Wednesday with the Islanders at the Consol Energy Center as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, have been on quite a roll.
They are 23-4 in their past 27 games. They also own a 4-1 mark against the Islanders this season, and are 16-4-1 overall against them in the past 21 meetings.
"We've been playing pretty well at home, and playing pretty well overall,'' Fleury said. "And we've been working on improving our game each and every day. We're ready to go.''
Fleury, who was 23-8-0 with a 2.39 goals-against average in this strike-shortened 48-game season, has won a franchise-record 249 regular-season games in his career, to go along with 43 playoff victories.
He has played in two Stanley Cup Finals, both against the Red Wings (2008 and 2009). He single-handedly helped beat the Red Wings in 2009 by making some highlight-reel saves in Game 7, including a diving stop with 1.5 seconds left to preserve Pittsburgh's third Stanley Cup championship.
But since 2009, the 28-year-old Fleury is just 12-14 in the playoffs. He knows he will have to be at his best in order for the Penguins to make a deep run in the playoffs.
In last year's opening-round matchup against the Flyers, Fleury was an unsatisfactory 2-4 and surrendered 26 goals in the six-game series. He finished with an .834 save percentage and a 4.63 GAA.
"I think you learn from it, learn from what happened in the past and try to use it to improve and be ready for these ones coming up,'' Fleury said.
He isn't about to look past the Islanders, who are 11-2-4 in their past 17 games and are one of the hottest teams in the NHL.
"I am looking forward to the playoffs getting started,'' Fleury said. "Playoff hockey is the best. It is the most fun hockey we play throughout the year.
"We have a good team and I think we can make a good run at the Cup. We want to win it, obviously.''
Fleury and veteran backup Tomas Vokoun, 36, have proved to be quite a tandem for the Penguins. Vokoun, acquired from Washington in June for a seventh-round pick, logged a 13-4-0 record and 2.45 GAA in 20 games.
"Marc is great guy -- it's a very good relationship,'' said Vokoun, signed to a two-year, $4-million contract. "He's a great guy, a really funny guy. He's always positive.''