77°F
weather icon Clear

Knights’ Fleury having record season with assist from goalie coach

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Marc-Andre Fleury was already a pretty good goaltender when the Golden Knights selected him in the expansion draft a year ago.

Three Stanley Cup rings were all the proof you needed. But as good as Fleury had been during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, David Prior thought he could be even better despite the fact Fleury wouldn’t have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang playing in front of him.

Prior, the Knights’ goaltending coach, wasn’t going to change Fleury’s style. Instead, he looked for cerebral things that would enhance the 33-year-old’s play.

SHORT DESCRIPTION (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“He’s got a real ability to connect with the people he’s working with,” assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon said of Prior, who was not made available by the team for comment. “With Malcolm Subban and Marc-Andre Fleury, they speak a language that you and I don’t understand. But they do.

“He’s done tremendous work, not only with those two goaltenders but during a stretch where we had a lot of injuries at that position. Maybe that was his best work.”

And as the Knights begin the next leg of their Stanley Cup journey Saturday in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Winnipeg Jets, they do so knowing they have the best goalie in the playoffs. In his first 10 games, Fleury has posted a 1.53 goals-against average, a .951 save percentage and four shutouts. It has carried over from the best regular season of his career where Fleury’s numbers included a 2.24 GAA and a .927 save percentage.

“Most of it was about being ready, the mental aspect of it,” Fleury said Friday at MTS Bell Place. “His approach is good and healthy.

“I think he’s helped. He’s changed some of my on-ice play. The game changes and he’s helped make me a better goalie. I think time, experience, all that stuff, I think helps you understand things mentally on the ice, how to take care of yourself. You put all of that together and it makes you better.”

Prior pushed hard for general manager George McPhee to get Fleury.

“He obviously studies goaltenders all around the league and looks at the way that they’re playing the game,” McPhee said. “He either believes that they’re playing it right and can get better, or they’re doing all the right things. So he was excited and he really advocated for him in our meetings and thought that he could make him even better than he’s been.

“We certainly knew what we were getting in terms of ability. We like the calming effect he has on this team. When he plays, he’s really good when you need him the most. Needless to say you don’t get to the third round in this league unless you’ve got a goaltender that’s playing well.”

Knights forward James Neal, who played with Fleury in Pittsburgh, said he’s never seen Fleury play better.

“For us, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have him,” Neal said. “Every night he’s making huge saves for us at the right time. For a guy who’s had a great career and won so many Stanley Cups, he still has something to prove and wants to be better each day. Guys see that, especially the younger guys, and it builds a lot of character in our room.”

The Jets’ Blake Wheeler said getting the best of Fleury will be a challenge over a seven-game series.

“Tremendous,” Wheeler said of Fleury’s 2018 postseason. “Even if he wasn’t playing at the level he is right now, I think he carries a ton of respect throughout the league, certainly throughout our lineup.

“This time of year, a hot goaltender can carry a team a long way and he’s at the top of his game so we know it’s not going to be easy.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Aliens Invade City National Arena for Competition
Aliens attended the City National Arena for a competition to see who was best dressed. The prize was out of this world.
Golden Knights rally to beat Kings in OT, 3-2
The Golden Knights were down 2-0 halfway through the third period, but two quick goals helped get the team back on track to beat the Kings 3-2 in overtime.
Golden Knights' Deryk Engelland Shares Advice with Rookies - Video
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland has some advice for rookies: “Stick with what got you there.” The veteran NHL player also recalls his first goal as a pro.
Golden Knights Continue Preseason Success with Win Over Avalanche - Video
The Golden Knights prospects are continuing to prove they are worthy of a starting position, this time with a shutout 5-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant Praises Prospects - Video
A day after the Golden Knights 6-2 preseason victory over the Arizona Coyotes, head coach Gerard Gallant discussed how impressed he is with the prospects, including defensemen Nicolas Hague and Dylan Coghlan.
Golden Knights On First Preseason Win - Video
The Golden Knights talk about their first preseason win including Max Pacioretty's hat trick and putting Malcolm Subban as the goaltender for tonight's game.
Golden Knights Zamboni Lessons 101 - Video
The Golden Knights preseason tips off on Sunday, Sept. 15 and you know what that mean, it's time to roll out the zamboni! Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a zamboni operator for the Golden Knights? Golden Edge host Cassie Soto finds out!
Allegiant Unveils Golden Knights Plane - Video
Allegiant air officially unveils its new Golden Knights airbus that will take to the skies soon.
Golden Knights Rookie Camp: 3 Takeaways - Video
Vegas Golden Knights rookies took to the ice on Friday morning for practice at City National Arena. While the rookies mainly participated in drills, it was good to see the prospects get ice time. Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz discuss their three takeaways from the practice.
Golden Knights Host Charity Golf Classic - Video
The Golden Knights held its 2019 Charity Golf Classic on Wednesday at TPC Summerlin. Before teeing off, Golden Knights players Ryan Reaves, Jonathan Marchassault and Alex Tuch said who they thought were the worst and best golfers on their team.
Ryan Reaves performs wedding ceremony
Reverand Reavo makes his debut for one time only at the Chapel of Flowers for a get married by Ryan Reaves contest.
Vegas Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz on the Golden Edge Podcast
Review-Journal reporters Ben Gotz and David Schoen talk with Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz about his experiences with LeBron James, the team's new initiatives, a possible MLS expansion team and more.
George McPhee Conference Call on Nikita Gusev trade - VIDEO
Golden Knights President of Operations George McPhee answers questions on a conference call about the teams most recent trade of Nikita Gusev to the New Jersey Devils.
Vegas Golden Knight's Deryk Engelland Happy to Re-Sign - Video
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland is happy to stay in Las Vegas after signing a one-year deal with the team.
Golden Aces hold Tryouts For 2019-2020 Season - Video
The Golden Aces hold tryouts for the 2019-2020 season for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Development Camp at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada
For the third consecutive year, Vegas Golden Knights Development Camp participants participated in a special community event at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
THE LATEST