Marc-Andre Fleury has made quite the name for himself after being traded to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in 2017. In fact, his recent performance earned him the 2021 Vezina Trophy for best goalie in the NHL. The Golden Knights missed the Stanley Cup Finals, but Fleury still put on an amazing show.
Let's start by looking at his regular-season stats, which include a 24-10 record as a starter, six shutouts, and only 71 goals allowed. Now, some of the credit belongs to Robin Lehner, who served as a decent relief for Fleury at times, but the former Pittsburgh Penguin was the one really running the show. The beast allowed only one or two goals in 26 of 36 games last season, making him one of the most challenging goalies to get past in the entire league.
"It's such an honor," the 36-year-old said about winning the Vezina trophy. " I honestly think that for a goalie to win this, you still need a good team in front of you to help you out."
Although his performance during the regular season was spectacular to watch, it was the postseason where Fleury did his best work. Again, Lehner was reliable at times, but he never had the same success in front of the net. Unfortunately for Fleury, this forced the Golden Knights to rely on him for most of the playoffs, resulting in major wear and tear. It got so bad that the Knights had him start 17 straight games, tying an NHL record in the process.
Fleury was 9-7 as a starter in the playoffs when all was said and done and only allowed 33 goals during that time.
Another thing we need to talk about is Fleury's work during the four-game comeback against the Colorado Avalance. It all started when the Knights dropped two straight games to their division rival, leading many to think the Knights wouldn't last much longer. Lehner, who was filling in for Fleury that night, had allowed seven straight goals during the first game, leaving the Knights in a hole. That hole only widened two days later when the Knights lost again in a pretty close matchup.
Again, many thought the series was over at this point, but not Fleury. He would go on to start the next four games and was able to hold his opponents to only eight goals during that time. That was enough for the Knights to light up the scoreboard and come back to win the series 4-2. T
"It was a little bit of a tougher season mentally, playing so many games," Fleury said. "Obviously I was very lucky to have such a great relationship with Robin and to be able to support each other throughout the season and gain some rest too because Robin played a lot of games (19) and that obviously helps a lot in such a condensed season (56 games). It was good to have him too, so we can always support each other and talk about goals and talk about plays."
In the end, Marc Andre Fleury is one of the best players on the Golden Knights right now, and he proves it every time he steps on the ice. Furthermore, he was that crucial part of the machine that kept the Golden Knights going. The man is just a brick wall on the ice, and that's why he truly deserves the Vezina trophy.