Last year when the Penguins signed Tomas Vokoun, the team tried to tell anyone who would listen that the signing was more about bringing down Marc Andre Fleury’s workload than actual competition, pointing to a heavy workload in the past being among the primary reasons Fleury’s play had dipped in the playoffs.
Suddenly those concerns don’t appear to be there but it’s likely more about what the Penguins have behind Fleury.
Following Jeff Zatkoff’s (0-1-0, 6.05 GAA, .800 sv%) performance against the Florida Panthers on Oct 11, the organization is suddenly on edge about Zatkoff. The Penguins, though, have to give him a couple more starts to see what they really have.
Fleury has started eight of the first nine games, and with back to back games Zatkoff’s second career NHL start is expected to come tomorrow night vs the Islanders or Saturday night vs the Maple Leafs.
The Islanders bring speed and a high flying offensive attack to the table but for a goaltender who figures to be lacking confidence and is potentially doubting himself, the ideal start for him is on home ice than going into Toronto against a very good team. The Penguins could have a situation on their hands of Zatkoff being overwhelmed playing on the big stage in Toronto.
The other option for the coaching staff could be to play Fleury Friday and Saturday night in back to back games, giving Zatkoff the start in Carolina Monday night (easier situation to play in) which would give Fleury three days of rest before Wednesday’s tilt with the Bruins.