Fleury will likely be in net as the Penguins try to record a sixth win in seven games overall and fifth in a row at home over the struggling Florida Panthers when the teams meet Sunday.
Pittsburgh (44-23-8) is one of three teams - along with Philadelphia and Washington - with at least 96 points vying for home ice throughout the East playoffs.
As of Jan. 5, the Penguins were fifth in the NHL with 3.2 goals per game as Sidney Crosby(notes) had tallied 32 in 41 contests. However, since losing Crosby to a concussion following an 8-1 win over Tampa Bay that night, Pittsburgh’s scoring average is a full goal lower to rank 26th in the league in that stretch.
The Penguins, who have converted just three of their last 52 power-play opportunities (5.8 percent), totaled one goal in their last two games but recorded four points in the standings thanks in large part to Fleury’s impressive play.
Fleury made 19 saves in a 2-1 shootout win over the Flyers on Thursday night then stopped 21 shots and all three shootout attempts in Friday night’s 1-0 win over New Jersey. He is 5-2-0 with a 1.81 goals-against average in his last seven starts.
The Penguins limited the Devils to just one shot over the first 20 minutes. They held Florida without a shot for a full period twice during the 2000-01 season.
“The last two games in a row we have had a real sharp effort from the entire team,” defenseman Matt Niskanen(notes) told the Penguins’ official website. “Everyone is buying into the way we want to play. We’re being aggressive but we are being smart at the same time. It’s a total team effort and we are playing the right way.”
The Penguins have taken seven of the last eight home meetings with Florida - including four straight.
While Fleury is 5-6-0 with a 3.34 GAA lifetime in the series, teammate Brent Johnson(notes) is 5-1-0 with a 2.09 GAA in his last six starts versus the Panthers. Johnson, though, is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
After failing to score in each of its two previous games, Florida (29-36-10) was eliminated from playoff contention with a 4-2 loss at Buffalo on Friday night - its fourth consecutive defeat.
“It’s been hurting for a while,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “You get numb to that pain.”
“We played hard, but it’s just where we are right now,” said Vokoun, 0-3-3 with a 3.18 GAA in his last six starts at Pittsburgh.
Booth was struck in the throat with a puck against the Sabres but was cleared to travel with the team. His status for Sunday is unknown.
Center Stephen Weiss(notes), first on the club with 49 points, didn’t record any Friday after notching five during a four-game point streak. He missed shutout losses to the Rangers and Chicago on Tuesday and Wednesday with an injury.