Wednesday’s edition of the Goalie News will focus on a pair of future Hall of Fame netminders. Also, there was an injury that led to a rare occurrence in Minnesota.
Flower Keeps Climbing Up the Ladder
Marc-Andre Fleury has already had a spectacular career. If he had retired before the start of the 2018-19 season, he would go down as one of the best goaltenders to play in the last 30 years. He has won three championships and played in two other Stanley Cup Finals. The four-time All-Star has definitely lived up to the hype of being the first overall pick of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Even with everything he has already accomplished, it can be argued that Fleury is playing the best hockey of his career right now. He leads the league with seven wins to go along with his stellar 2.04 goals-against average (GAA) and .937 save percentage (SV %).
This has been a very memorable few days for the 34-year-old goaltender. On Saturday, he came back to haunt his former team by shutting out the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was back in the crease on Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks where he outdueled Robin Lehner for a 2-1 shootout victory.
The win was Fleury’s 446th of his career and put him all alone in seventh-place on the NHL’s all-time win list, passing Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk. He has a long way to catch the all-time wins mark of 691 held by Martin Brodeur, but he will continue to move up the list. Henrik Lundqvist is just ahead of him with 450 wins and they both will pass Curtis Joseph’s 454 wins before this season is over, if they stay healthy, of course.
Rask Hits a Major Milestone
The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs have been rivals for decades, but that rivalry has heated up in recent years. The Bruins have taken great pleasure in knocking the Maple Leafs out of the playoffs in three of the last four times they have qualified for the postseason, including in each of the last two seasons.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask took the crease on Tuesday night for the 500th time in his career and made 28 saves in a 4-2 victory. It was appropriate that this milestone came against the Maple Leafs as they drafted him in the first round, back in 2005, before trading him to the Bruins for Andrew Raycroft.
“They say it’s like 1,000 games for the [position] players, so it’s a big milestone,” Rask told NBC Sports Boston. “You play 500 games as a goalie it’s going to take some years, so it just goes to show you how old I am, I guess. That’s about it. It goes by so quickly. You don’t pay attention to how many total games you’ve played until you’ve reached a milestone and then you start looking back and say, ‘Holy crap — it’s 500 games and 11 years or whatever.’ Time flies. I’m just grateful I’ve been part of this team for so long and that I’m still in it.”
The Bruins and their fans are sure grateful for Rask’s 500 games too!
Dubnyk’s Injury Leads to Rare Occurrence
A shutout in Major League Baseball completed by multiple pitchers is not very rare these days. In fact, with starters rarely going nine innings anymore, these types of shutouts have become the norm. Seeing multiple goaltenders complete a shutout in the NHL is very rare, but that is exactly what we saw in Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Devan Dubnyk made nine saves before he left the game due to an injury early in the second period. Playing in his 300th game for the Wild, Dubnyk was upended after his teammate Ryan Donato fell to the ice while battling the Edmonton Oilers’ Brandon Manning. Dubnyk tried to leap over both sliding players, but fell hard and appeared to hit the back of his head on the ice.
Alex Stalock came in to relieve Dubynk and stopped all 16 shots he faced to complete a 3-0 shutout of the Oilers. This marked just the second time in franchise history in which two goaltenders appeared in a shutout win.
The win marked the first time all season in which the Wild have won two games in a row and this also the first time the Oilers have lost back-to-back games.