SAN JOSE, Calif. — Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t mind losing his title in the save streak competition at the NHL All-Star Skills event Friday.
It was the way it happened that didn’t sit well with the Golden Knights goaltender.
“I was so disappointed,” he said.
— NHL (@NHL) January 26, 2019
Fleury finished fourth out of eight competitors with six consecutive saves, but saw his reign end when Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler slipped a shot through Fleury’s pads.
New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist won the event with 12 straight stops, two off the record Fleury set last year in Tampa, Florida.
Fleury allowed goals on two of the first three shots he faced against the Central Division all-stars before he stopped the next six attempts.
Wheeler appeared to fan on his shot, but the changeup fooled Fleury and the puck trickled across the goal line before he could recover.
Fleury tossed his stick in frustration, accidentally hitting a cameraman who was filming the action from the ice.
“You want to have fun with it, but once you’re there and they’re coming, you still want to do well,” Fleury said. “I think I would have rather get beat fair and square on a nice move, and then you’re like, ‘All right, he got me.’ But then when it’s something like that, oh jeez. It sucks.”
Fleury, who attempted to build a snow wall similar to what he did in Winnipeg on Jan. 15, was booed throughout the competition by the Sharks’ fans at SAP Center.
“I think it’s pretty funny, right?” he said. “We face them a lot during the season and in the playoffs, obviously, last season. I don’t know. Maybe it’s a little bit expected.”
The NHL will implement puck and player tracking technology for games next season, commissioner Gary Bettman announced at a news conference Friday.
The system, developed by German company Jogmo World Corp., places microchips on players’ pads and inside game pucks to gather real-time data. It will be used during Saturday’s All-Star Game.
The NHL joins the NFL as professional sports leagues with wearable tracking technology.
The tracking system was tested in two regular-season games involving the Golden Knights, and Bettman noted the data showed Jonathan Marchessault and Brent Burns skated more than three miles.
“As a league, we have made significant investments to create new technology that quite literally didn’t exist,” Bettman said, “We think many of our fans, especially the innovation generations — millennials and Gen Z — are going to love this new frontier.”
The Knights were not chosen to participate in the two outdoor games next season.
Nashville was announced as Dallas’ opponent for the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl. Also, Colorado will play Los Angeles in the Stadium Series game at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby did not participate in the skills competition due to illness. He is expected to play in Saturday’s 3-on-3 tournament.
NHL Skills Competition winners
Fastest Skater — Connor McDavid, Edmonton (13.378 seconds)
Puck Control — Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary (27.045 seconds)
Save Streak — Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers (12 saves)
Premier Passer — Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton (1:09.088)
Hardest Shot — John Carlson, Washington (102.8 mph)
Accuracy Shooting — David Pastrnak, Boston (11.309 seconds)