Marc-André Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights won the Vezina Trophy, voted NHL’s top goaltender, on Tuesday.
“It’s such an honor,” said the 36-year-old. “Obviously I tried to keep playing right now, but I think… look at the list of guys who won this trophy. I loved watching them and idolized a lot of them. [them], looking at them. It’s such an honor to be with them, and I think our team had such a commitment to playing right and playing well defensively and blocking shots and making me look better. Honestly, I think for a goalie to win this you still need a good team in front of you to help you out. “
Fleury helped Vegas (40-14-2) finish second in the Honda West Division and advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs for a fourth straight season. The Golden Knights lost to the Montreal Canadiens in six games in the best of seven Stanley Cup semi-finals.
“I still love to play hockey, so it’s not really hard work,” said Fleury. “I come to do my best and try to change little things here and there, and I guess the way our team is playing in defense throughout the season, it’s always a big help and it makes me look better. I thought I just walked in, do my best and try to keep having fun. “
Video: Best pieces of the winner of the Vézina Trophy Marc-André Fleury
Fleury has allowed two goals or less in 25 of 36 starts and with Robin Lehner helped Vegas win the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the regular season (124). Fleury is third in NHL history with 492 wins behind Patrick Roy (551) and Martin Brodeur (691).
“It was a little more difficult season mentally, playing so many games,” said Fleury. “Obviously I was very lucky to have such a good relationship with Robin, and to be able to support each other throughout the season and to rest too, because Robin has played a lot of games (19) and that obviously helps a lot in such a condensed season (56 games). It was good to have him too, so we can always support each other and talk about goals and games.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s this year or another, but I feel like this year has been more difficult for most people in the world and I just feel lucky that I was able to continue playing hockey and to do what we love, and obviously it’s nice to recognize yourself with this trophy. “
Andreï Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning finished second and Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche finished third among other finalists for the award, which was voted on by NHL general managers before the start of the playoffs.
Vasilevskiy was 31-10-1 and led the NHL in wins for a fourth consecutive season. He was eighth in GAA (2.21), sixth in save percentage (0.925) and fourth in shutouts (five).
Grubauer was 30-9-1 and second in wins (30) behind Vasilevskiy, and tied Semion Varlamov of the New York Islanders for the NHL lead with seven shutouts.
“There are so many good goalies in the League,” said Fleury. “There are so many great guys who can move and are quick and skilled. Philipp has been consistent throughout the season, all year. I liked watching it. I like the way he does things.
“But for me I think Vasilevskiy is the best goalkeeper in the world right now and he’s fun to watch. It is spectacular. He’s skillful, he’s quick, he’s flexible. I think he’s all you need for a goalie so I feel very honored and lucky to have this chance today to win the trophy after 17 years. I feel lucky enough for this. “
Vote for the Vézina Trophy 2021
Marc-André Fleury, TBK 108 (14-11-5)
2. Andreï Vasilevskiy, TBL 99 (12-12-3)
Philipp Grubauer, COL 36 (2-6-8)
4. Connor Hellebuyck, WPG 13 (2-0-3)
5. Semyon Varlamov, JNI 11 (1-1-3)
6. Saros Hair, NSH 10 (0-1-7)
7. Mike Smith, EDM 2 (0-0-2)
Points attribution: 5-3-1 (1st-2nd-3rd)