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Bylsma refuses to name Game 5 starter

by Tal Pinchevsky

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Following a 6-4, Game 4 loss to the New York Islanders in which goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury allowed six goals on 24 shots, Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma refused to name either Fleury or backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun as the starter for Game 5 Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

"One of the reasons we brought in Tomas Vokoun was to play hockey games and win hockey games for us," Bylsma said after New York evened the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal at two games apiece. "Marc-Andre Fleury is our starting goaltender and started this series and won us some games and made some saves for us. But we're not going to talk about our starting goaltender for Game 5 right now."

Fleury appeared shaky on at least two of the Islanders' goals, particularly Kyle Okposo's tying marker with 1:24 remaining in the second period. Okposo attempted to make a centering pass from behind the Pittsburgh net, and the puck went off Fleury's pad and in. The awkward goal tied the game 3-3 and sent the Nassau Coliseum crowd into a frenzy.

"I think the one at the end of the second, it was not a good goal and one he [Fleury] was a little bit out of position on and they got a good bounce," Bylsma said. "It ties the game up there. That one hurt. We would have gone into the third with a 3-2 lead."

With the Islanders leading 5-4 late in the third period, Fleury let in another questionable goal. Casey Cizikas rushed down the wing and took a soft backhand that appeared to be going wide before it went off Fleury's blocker and into the net.

Shortly after the game-clinching goal, and with the Pittsburgh netminder pulled for an extra attacker, a despondent Fleury appeared to cover his face with his catching glove.

"I'm not happy, that's for sure. It's frustrating, but I've got to forget about it," Fleury said. "At the end, it was a lot of goals that go in."

Fleury's misplay on Okposo's game-tying goal turned the momentum in Game 4.

"When we got the lead, we got it twice and couldn't keep it with unfortunate goals and goals that got behind Marc. It's the story of that game," Bylsma said. "We've had plenty of goals. It's more minimizing the opportunities for the other side and not letting it be an up-and-down game. That type of game that gives them chances to get back in, whether it's how they manage the puck or a timely save."

Since shutting out the Islanders 5-0 in Game 1, Fleury has allowed 14 goals in three games posting a save percentage of .863. It's reminiscent of Fleury's play in last year's opening-round loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. In that six-game series, Fleury allowed 26 goals with a save percentage of .834.

Vokoun has appeared in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games in his 14-year NHL career, posting a 3-8 record and .922 save percentage. Despite that lack of experience, Bylsma wouldn't shy away from the notion of giving Vokoun a look in Game 5.

"Tomas Vokoun is a guy that can step in and play and has had success and won hockey games against this team," Bylsma said. "We're going to regroup and come back and come out for Game 5."


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