We've said this every season. Even with the immense scoring potential that the forwards possess, the Pens still ride or die from the net out.
Fleury's performance in the Flyers series last season was embarrassing. So, what happened? Some people point to his playing 67 games during the regular season. Others point at the Pens' porous defense finally coming back to bite them in the ass. It's probably a combination of multiple reasons, but one thing can't be argued: MAF simply had to play better in that series. The Pens needed him to come up with some saves as the series transformed into an Arena Football game.
So Ray Shero decided to make a move during the off-season. He brought in veteran Tomas Vokoun to replace Brent Johnson to solidify the Pens goaltending duo and probably to push MAF.
We pulled up MAF and Vokoun's career regular-season numbers, and we were stunned.
Vokoun: 680 GP, 2.55 GAA, .917 SV%, on mud teams
MAF: 434 GP, 2.68 GAA, .909 SV%, on perennial playoff contenders
Then there's the playoff stats.
Vokoun: 11 GP, 2.47 GAA, .922 SV%, 0 Rings
MAF: 75GP, 2.68 GAA, .904 SV%, 1 Ring
Well, good God. MAF is definitely the starter. He's the franchise goaltender. Vokoun is saying all the right things about wanting to be on a winning team and playing his role.
The first time this happens...
...and MAF gets his beat on his biggest weakness, high-glove, the goalie controvery will officially begin.
How fun is this going to be? Fans love a good controversy. And there's gonna be one. There are legions of MAF haters littered throughout the Pens' fan base, and they've been waiting for years to have a decent horse to get behind. Vokoun is that horse. Get your popcorn ready.