Flavell: Why the Penguins have all but won the series

You know it’s playoff season again when the Penguins have nearly made the opposing starting goalie fear even so much as seeing the colors black and gold. They’ve given Brian Elliott the yips this time around.

Elliott has been atrociously bad in the first four games of this series. Despite what some national media members have said about Elliott being “stellar” and getting no help, a lot of his goals have been weak leaky goals that shouldn’t go in even in the preseason. Those same media members have doubted Murray due to a sub-par regular season and said he won’t sustain this deep into the postseason. More on that later.

Elliott heads into Friday’s game 5 being replaced in two of the four games so far and having allowed 14 goals on 97 shots. For comparison, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights allowed just three goals…on 130 shots over his four games played. Elliott owns a 4.75 GAA and a .856 save percentage in these playoffs with no signs of turning it around. That’s a huge problem for the Flyers.

Who are they going to turn to? Petr Mrazek has been one of the most inconsistent goalies in the league over the past three seasons whether it be for the Red Wings or his current Flyers. Michal Neuvirth was injured for weeks, a main reason for the acquiring of Mrazek, and isn’t all that great of a goaltender to begin with. It would be a shame if the Penguins get a whole 60-minutes against him in a pivotal game 5.

Oh, and that goalie on the other side who’s being doubted by the national media? He’s got four shutouts in his last six playoff games. He’s got two Stanley Cups in two attempts and has yet to lose a playoff series. He’s already one of the most decorated playoff goaltenders of this generation and people are doubting him.

“Go ahead and doubt me.”

That was Murray after the final practice heading into this playoff series. He knew the doubting crowd would be out in full swing, especially those still stuck on the whole Murray/Fleury debate. It’s pretty silly to doubt a goalie with that resume as he stands before us a mere 23 years old.

The Penguins have the better goaltending by a mile. It’s clear now that the trio of goalies for the Flyers aren’t going to hold the Penguins back.

Goaltending is supreme come postseason time and it’s virtually won the Penguins the last two Stanley Cups. Who are the Penguins’ next potential goalie opponents? Take your choice of Sergei Bobrovsky or Braden Holtby. Neither of them have fared quite well against the Penguins in the playoffs.

Maybe that black-and-gold disease might just carry the Penguins soundly through round two and into their third straight conference finals.

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