Penguins notebook: Frustrated Fleury says the hard part is the losses

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Neither Penguins coach Dan Bylsma nor goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury revealed the details of their conversation when Bylsma told Fleury he was being benched Thursday in Game 5 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.

Fleury, though, was more affected by the reasons than the message.

"It's not that it's hard," he said of being told he would not start a playoff game for the first time in his Penguins career.

"It's mostly the games -- losing -- that's what's hard. That's what [stinks]."

Fleury allowed 14 goals over Games 2, 3 and 4. He said he understands the decision to start Tomas Vokoun for Game 5 and just hopes to get another crack at starting at some point.

"A lot of goals," he said. "It's frustrating. I wish I would have done better. But that's in the past.

"Looking forward to another shot at it."

Goalie not a difference

The guys who play in front of the Penguins goaltenders said the switch didn't figure to make much of a difference for them.

"I don't think it changes too much," defenseman Paul Martin said. "[The goalies] still want to be able to see the puck. As a defensive group, we have to be better at picking guys up and clearing rebounds.

"But as far as who's in the net, I don't think our games change too much."

The one adjustment Martin and his colleagues expected to make stemmed from Vokoun being a right-handed shot, while Fleury shoots left-handed.

"Tomas shoots the other way, so realizing that if he's going to put it hard around [the boards], he's more than likely going to go to his forehand," Matt Niskanen said.

Martin was anticipating that, as well.

"They typically like to go on their forehand a little more, so if they have to play it, it will go up that strong side more than it would the other side," he said. "But other than that, they're both capable of putting [the puck] to both sides."

Goalie game plan

Although Vokoun had strong numbers in four appearances against the Islanders in the regular season -- 3-0 and a 0.90 goals-against average -- the Islanders didn't profess to have a largely different plan of attack against him.

"He's kind of a stand-up goalie, old-school," said defenseman Mark Streit, who scored against Vokoun in the regular season. "He's good, but for us I don't think anything changes."

New York was preaching one minor difference between shots taken against Vokoun and Fleury.

"A butterfly goalie like Fleury, they go down, so you want to shoot high," Streit said. "I think we need to keep the pucks a little bit lower [against Vokoun], get it in his feet.

"But, really, just get pucks on net."

Crosby a finalist

Penguins center Sidney Crosby could be one of the three finalists for the Hart Trophy when they are announced today. That goes to the MVP of the NHL, as voted by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Crosby, though, was grateful Thursday to be named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, a companion of sorts to the Hart. The Lindsay goes to the league's most outstanding player, as determined in a vote of players.

"Not to take anything away from the other awards, but I think to be recognized by other players, the guys you compete against, is definitely a huge compliment," Crosby said.

Crosby finished tied for third in the regular season with 56 points.

The other finalists are wingers Alex Ovechkin of Washington and Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay. Ovechkin won the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals, 32, and, like Crosby, had 56 points. St. Louis won the Art Ross Trophy by leading the regular season with 60 points.

Crosby was leading the league handily when he sustained a broken jaw March 30 that ended his regular season. He amassed his points in just 36 games, or three-quarters of the 48-game, lockout-shortened season.

"I try to go out there and do my best," Crosby said. "If they recognize that or see me that way, then I definitely appreciate it. Unfortunately, I missed a little bit of the season. To be still recognized is definitely an honor."

Crosby's Lindsay vote went to Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, who had 28 goals, 57 points.

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For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at Shelly Anderson:, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly Dave Molinari: or Twitter @MolinariPG First Published May 10, 2013 4:00 AM


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