WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Almost all young athletes dream of a raucous, sold-out crowd chanting their name during a postseason game.
But those visions don’t usually include the scenario being on the road and the incantation being used as a sarcastic taunt.
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was serenaded in such a manner during a 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final at Bell MTS Place.
“Maybe they just like me a lot and they just want to chant my name,” Fleury said jokingly after the Knights lost a Game 1 for the first time in the postseason. “I guess I’ve heard it a lot before, and I’m sure I’ll hear it again.”
The fans certainly weren’t going to stop after Fleury allowed three goals in the first 7:35 to put the Knights in a hole from which they never managed to crawl out.
There wasn’t much Fleury, who finished with 22 saves, could have done on three of the goals he surrendered in the game.
He has set a standard of expecting the remarkable, however, and was simply average Saturday.
“Sometimes, they’re not the prettiest goals, but I think we did a good job getting to the net and getting first- and second-chance opportunities,” Jets forward Paul Stastny said. “The majority of the time, if he sees it, he’s going to stop it.
“If you’re going to beat him, you’re going to have to move him across, you’re going to have to (get a) deflection, get in front of him.”
That’s what Winnipeg did.
The second goal game came on a perfect cross-ice pass by Blake Wheeler that Patrik Laine smashed into an open net for a power-play goal. The Jets followed by scoring on a play that was reviewed for hitting a skate and a potential goaltender interference before it was eventually ruled a goal.
Mark Scheifele tacked on another power-play goal in the second period when his deflection of Dustin Byfuglien’s blast from the point trickled through Fleury’s pads.
“I think the first one I would like to see again, for sure,” Fleury said of Byflugien’s goal 65 seconds into the game. “The one that was reviewed, it was questionable, but that’s their decision.”
Nobody was pinning the loss on Fleury in a game during which the Golden Knights were outplayed and, perhaps even more noticeably, outskated.
Still, it was the fifth time in the past six games that he has allowed at least three goals.
“Yeah, he’s awful,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said jokingly. “You saw the game. Deflection goals, big shot by Byfuglien. He’s played real good hockey for us. He’s the best goalie in the playoffs as far as I’m concerned.”
Fleury said he isn’t worried.
“I’ve been through it before on the good side and the bad side,” he said. “It’s fine. We’ll forget about it and move on.”