Marc-Andre Fleury has been a key reason the Vegas Golden Knights advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, putting together one of the greatest goaltending performances in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Fleury, who is 12-3, ranks first among goaltenders who have played five games with a .947 save percentage, 1.68 goals-against average and four shutouts.
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The Golden Knights have been outshot 505-473 in 15 games but have outscored opponents 43-27, giving opposing goaltenders a .909 save percentage.
When adjusting Fleury's stats to allow comparisons back to 1953-54, when save percentage first became available, Fleury's save percentage relative to the rest of the goaltenders is among the highest and matches or exceeds those who have won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. When taking workload into account, Fleury is on track to prevent more goals than any goalie in a single postseason.
Video: VGK@WPG, Gm5: Fleury denies Wheeler with his pad
Fleury's .947 save percentage ranks first among goaltenders who played at least 10 games in a single postseason since 1953-54. Patrick Lalime with the Ottawa Senators in 2002 and Jonathan Quick with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 are second at .946, followed by Ron Tugnutt with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2000 and Jean-Sebastien Giguere with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003 at .945. Quick and Giguere won the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Since NHL-average save percentages have changed over the years, it is more informative to compare goaltenders across eras using a statistic called save percentage plus (SV+), which compares a goaltender's results to the NHL average. It is calculated by dividing one minus the League average by one minus a goalie's save percentage.
Since the average of all other goaltenders is .908 this postseason, and Fleury's save percentage is .947, Fleury's SV+ is 0.092 divided by 0.053, which is 1.736. That's higher than Quick in 2012, when the NHL average was .918 (1.518), and Giguere in 2003, when the average was .914 (1.564).
To place that result in perspective, Fleury's SV+ is higher than Ken Dryden's best postseason. In the 1977 playoffs Dryden had a .932 save percentage for the Montreal Canadiens, all other goaltenders had an average of .886, which is an SV+ of 1.676.
Being able to sustain a high save percentage through more games, and against a higher volume of shots, is one of the reasons Fleury's performance has been so remarkable. This can be measured using a statistic called Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA), which is the number of goals prevented relative to an average goaltender. It is calculated by multiplying the number of shots a goaltender has faced by the average save percentage of all other goaltenders and then subtracting that from his total saves.
Video: WPG@VGK, Gm3: Fleury stays tight to rob Scheifele
The highest playoffs GSAA is 24.56, by Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins in 2011. He faced 849 shots, which would result in 75.56 goals based on the combined average save percentage of all other goaltenders (.911). Instead, Thomas allowed 51 goals and won the Conn Smythe Trophy.
With a GSAA of 19.46, Fleury is ahead of Quick in 2012 (15.12) and close to Giguere in 2003, who is fifth at 21.94.
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