Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury admits he’s giving up too many goals
The most glaring mark on Fleury’s resume so far is the 5-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night
ST. PAUL — It sure looks like the Minnesota Wild are trying to get goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury into a groove with the NHL playoffs coming up in less than a week. Or maybe they are simply trying to give fellow goaltender Cam Talbot as much rest as possible so he’s fresh for the opening-round series against the St. Louis Blues.
Regardless, it’s going to be a major talking point until coach Dean Evason names his Game 1 starter. He’s clearly not ready to do that with a couple of games left in the regular season. Asked who has the edge at the moment, Evason refused to tip his hand, replying, “We’re going to have a difficult decision.”
The decision-making process has been playing out in real time since March 21 when general manager Bill Guerin acquired Fleury on the morning of the NHL trade deadline. For roughly a month after that, the Wild rotated between Talbot and Fleury on a game by game basis. The rotation finally stopped last week with Talbot getting two consecutive starts followed by Fleury’s three consecutive starts.
While the latter seems to indicate that the Wild are leaning toward starting Fleury in Game 1 against the Blues next week, he hasn’t exactly been impressive as of late.
Never mind that he’s 8-2-0 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .905 save percentage since the trade deadline. The most glaring mark on Fleury’s resume with the Wild is Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at Xcel Energy Center.
“Personally, I’ve got to be better,” Fleury said. “I feel like I’m giving up a lot of goals lately. It’s making me mad.”
There’s no doubt Talbot been a little sharper that Fleury since they started sharing the net. In that span, Talbot is 7-0-3 with a 2.28 goal-against average and .923 save percentage. Talbot’s biggest issue is his 0-1-2 record against the Blues this season with a 5.92 GAA and .814 save percentage.
That might explain why the Wild appear to be giving Fleury every opportunity to take the reins ahead of the series against the Blues. As good as Talbot has been over the past couple of months — he hasn’t lost in regulation since March 1 — he has struggled immensely against the team the Wild will be playing starting next week in a best-of-7 series.
As for Fleury, he’s been around the league long enough to fix things on the fly. He’s confident he can do that before the playoffs begin.
“I feel like there’s always a goal a night that I can have and it makes a difference for our team,” Fleury said. “There’s some good saves in there. Still it’s too many goals. I can’t be giving up this much and expecting our team to win every night. Just have to clean that up.”