The key to the Vegas Golden Knights' success, not only during the postseason, but also all throughout the regular calendar, has been mostly awarded to the great performances, night after night, of star goalie Marc Andre Fleury. Since the start of the postseason, Fleury has kept the Golden Knights in the game, leading his team to a sweeping first round against the Los Angeles Kings, and then a series win in six contests over the San Jose Sharks.
And what to say now about his performance against the Winnipeg Jets. While he might have needed the first game of the Western Conference finals to adjust to the Jets' speed, it didn't take him long to get back on track and stand tall in front of his net.
In an up-and-close interview with the star netminder on ESPN’s Quest For The Cup, Fleury was asked how he managed to win games and what has been his personal approach to each game in the Knights' playoff run. Fleury was quick to admit that he plays his best when he’s “relaxed, lose, and having fun.”
"I think that's when I play my best games. I love the game, I love to play, we have a great bunch of guys, and it's easy to go with the flow and have fun on the ice."
We saw how easily Fleury could have fun on the ice in the series against the Jets, especially during the third contest of the Western Finals. During that intense matchup, Fleury found a way to amuse himself and get some laughs out of the whole situation. After Fleury had made one of his many saves on the evening during the second period of the contest, a scum took place close by his net. While the other players were pushing, shoving, and likely yelling obscenities, Fleury pulled the glove off of his left hand and then he reached over behind the head of Jets captain Blake Wheeler and appeared to tickle his ear.
The Jets could see Fleury's statement on loving to play the game “relaxed, lose, and having fun” and challenge him on the ice by trying to anger and frustrate the goalie. While the Quebecois netminder seems pretty patient and collected in between the pipes, a few visits from gritty rival players in his crease might anger him and play with his head.
That might be one of the only ways for the Jets to win Game 5 on Sunday afternoon and push the series back in Vegas.
Photo Credit: Zuma Press