How goaltenders Sergei Bobrovsky (left) and Marc-Andre Fleury (right) perform will be pivotal in deciding if the series continue on to Wednesday.
USA TODAY Sports
COLUMBUS, Ohio – In last Saturday night’s Game Five, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was kept busy.
Way too busy for the Columbus Blue Jackets’ liking.
On the flip side, if Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was doubting himself at all after two late mistakes allowed the Blue Jackets to get back into and eventually escape with Game Four, it didn’t show.
Fleury gave up one goal in the first period. The Blue Jackets only got 15 shots total, converting none, in the final two periods.
Bobrovsky saved 48-of-50 shots and still took the loss.
So, with Columbus facing a do-or-die Game Six here Monday night, Bobrovsky has to be good again. And his teammates have to do more to help him.
"(Bobrovsky) was great (in Game Five)," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "Even on their first goal he makes a great save and just loses track of the puck…he ends up turning his body because he thought it was behind him.
"When you come into an opposing rink and he plays (that well), that’s a game your goaltender can steal for you. We just couldn’t get enough chances."
The Penguins pestered Bobrovsky with shots and by sending bodies in front of him both between the whistles and slightly after them, something the Blue Jackets figure to address early in Game Six.
"I don’t know about confrontations," Richards said. "I do think we need to be harder in front of the net."
Said Jackets center Ryan Johansen: "They were at the net more than we would have liked, more than ‘Bob’ would have liked. They did a better job of that, creating some traffic."
Fleury won his 48th career playoff game on Saturday night, but he’s been up and down both in this series and in his personal playoff history. He said an arena-wide chant of "Fleury, Fleury" in a show of support before Game Five gave him "goosebumps" and that he appreciated his teammates controlling the puck and playing most of the game at the other end.
Through four games — all decided by 4-3 comeback wins, two by each team — the Penguins had taken 145 shots at Bobrovsky, and the Blue Jackets had managed 140 at Fleury. The Blue Jackets want to be more aggressive and get more chances at Fleury in Game Six, and their season depends on it.