Advertisement

Marc-Andre Fleury’s playoff streak over at 17 seasons, but Wild goalie has no regrets

Marc-Andre Fleury could have made himself available at the trade deadline, waived his no-trade clause and would be looking forward to yet another postseason in what, ultimately, will be a Hall of Fame career.

But he didn’t. Instead, he will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for just the third time in 20 seasons.

No regrets.

“My goal is always to win the Stanley Cup. It’s the best you can get in hockey,” Fleury told reporters Thursday after a Wild practice at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “But at the deadline, I think we had a chance, and we battled down the stretch here and from the All-Star break on, I think our record’s pretty good, right?”

Fleury will start in net for Minnesota in Friday night’s 9 p.m. puck drop at Vegas, his 40th appearance of the season. The Wild are 16-8-6 since returning from the All-Star break on Feb. 7, and Fleury is 9-4-2. But they were officially eliminated from postseason contention in a 5-2 loss at Colorado on Tuesday.

It snaps a three-year postseason streak for the Wild and a 17-season run for Fleury, who not only is accustomed to playing in the postseason but accustomed to winning there, as well.

Fleury, 39, was a part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams in Pittsburgh, and in four seasons with Vegas from 2017-2021, he helped lead the Golden Knights a Cup final and Western Conference championship, winning 28 times in 47 starts.

“It is weird. It’s surreal that we have a date that things will stop, right? Disappointing, too,” he told reporters. “It’s fun, lots of fun. The atmosphere in the building is electric, home and away. It’s definitely disappointing to be on the outside.”

Fleury is contemplating retirement at season’s end. Whether it’s this year or next, he will retire as the NHL’s second-winningest goaltender behind Martin Brodeur, and one of only four to play in 1,000 NHL games. Fleury has said his strong second half has made him more open to returning, but he shed no new light on what that decision might be.

When asked by a reporter if missing the playoffs might make him hungrier for another season, Fleury said, “I guess I don’t know. I just want to win. Winning’s still good. It’s the best. Like I said, this is a disappointing point in the season. But, we’ll see.”

Fleury declined to say whether he has spoken with Bill Guerin about next season, and the Wild general manager did the same when reached by text Thursday evening.

Ohgren to make debut

Wild prospect Liam Ohgren played his first four games in the American Hockey League this month and on Friday will play his first in the NHL. Promoted from Iowa on Wednesday, he will make his debut against the Knights.

Ohgren, 20, signed a three-year entry contract in 2022 but missed training camp this season because of a back injury. After three months off, he said, he was able to play in his native Sweden for the national junior team and pro outfit Färjestad BK, which was knocked out of the Swedish Hockey League playoffs early.

“I thought we were going to play a lot longer in Sweden. We had a great team, and obviously we got swept in the first round,” he told reporters in Las Vegas. “I mean, that’s what I expected. I expected to play there until May.

“But I got the opportunity to play in Iowa right after, and I’m really happy for that, and I got the call, so it’s unbelievable.”

Briefly

Wild coach John Hynes said forwards Mats Zuccarello and Freddy Gaudreau missed practice Thursday for personal reasons. They were not in Las Vegas and it was unclear whether they would return for Friday night’s game.

Related Articles