LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Marc-Andre Fleury is back with the Minnesota Wild after briefly leaving the team, shouldering the blame for a disappointing 6-5 overtime loss Saturday night to the Buffalo Sabres.
Fleury was upset with his performance, reportedly slamming equipment in the locker room and muttering in French. He is also dealing with a personal matter away from the rink, too. Fleury left the team and flew to Montreal, rejoining the Wild in New York to face the Rangers tonight. In his absence, the Wild dropped Sunday’s game to St. Louis, 3-0.
In a postgame account of the loss to the Sabres, The Athletic said Fleury “beat himself to a pulp afterward” despite keeping the Wild in the game with “a slew of tremendous stops.”
“Score five … should be a win every time. I feel bad for the boys,” Fleury told the media. He described one of the goals as “stupid.” He angrily rejected his teammates’ efforts to share the blame.
“No, it’s on me,” Fleury snapped as Matt Dumba tried to calm him.
The report from The Athletic was sympathetic to Fleury’s situation:
“It’s been clear by Fleury’s demeanor that he’s been dealing with a difficult situation away from the ice. Less than two hours before his start in St. Louis on New Year’s Eve, he was on the phone outside of Enterprise Center by the loading docks, and the look in his eyes made clear the news was not good.”
One of Fleury’s saves in overtime Saturday night shut the door on Alex Tuch as the Sabres broke 2 on 1. Another sequence in the game saw Fleury make three consecutive saves as the Sabres swarmed around the net with no defense to slow them down.
Speaking of former Knights — Fleury and Tuch were both popular players in their time in Las Vegas — Ryan Reaves has a big matchup ahead tonight.
Reaves was traded from the New York Rangers to the Minnesota Wild early this season and will be on the ice against his old team. He has been part of the Wild’s turnaround, who were 9-8-2 before his arrival, and 13-6-1 with Reaves in the lineup.
After a hectic schedule over the past two months, the Knights are in the midst of a long break, returning to the ice Thursday at T-Mobile Arena against the Florida Panthers. The Knights won’t see the Fleury, Reaves and the Wild until a Feb. 9 road game in Minnesota.