Marc-Andre Fleury said he doesn’t want to be a distraction to the Vegas Golden Knights and asked his agent to remove a controversial tweet that suggested coach Peter DeBoer had stabbed the goalie in the back.
The tweet, posted from Allan Walsh’s private account Saturday, depicted Fleury with a sword through his chest, with “DeBoer” written on the sword. The tweet has since been deleted.
Fleury addressed the situation Sunday and insisted he was OK with the goalie rotation, which has seen Robin Lehner emerge as the No. 1 option, and that he had spoken to everyone involved, especially his teammates, to clear the air.
“I’ve known these guys for a while now and I don’t know, I just want to put this behind and move on,” Fleury said. “All I care about is winning and what’s best for the team and they know that.”
Fleury, who has been the No. 1 goalie in Vegas since its inaugural season in 2017-18, has started twice this postseason, a 6-4 win against the St. Louis Blues in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup qualifiers and a 2-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Lehner, whom the Golden Knights acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs after they acquired him from the Blackhawks on Feb. 24, has started six of eight postseason games for Vegas. He is 5-1-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.
The Golden Knights, the No. 1 seed, play the Vancouver Canucks, the No. 5 seed, in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the West hub city, on Sunday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN). Lehner is expected to start, despite the fact Fleury is 12-2-2 with a 2.75 GAA and .907 save percentage in 16 games against the Canucks and hasn’t lost to them in regulation since Jan. 16, 2006.
“Allan’s been my agent for a long time,” Fleury said. “I think he’s a guy who always cares about his players and does about me, also. I really appreciate his passion for the game that he has, maybe [the tweet was] a way to defend me in that situation for not playing much. But I’m here to be with my team and have success and that’s all that matters. Because of that, I asked him to take that picture down and he did this morning. That’s it.”
Fleury, who won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009, 2016 and 2017, is 466-266-80 with two ties, a 2.57 GAA, .913 save percentage and 61 shutouts in 847 NHL games (822 starts) with the Penguins and Golden Knights. He is 80-62 with a 2.59 GAA, .911 save percentage and 15 shutouts in 144 playoff games (142 starts).
He started each of the 20 games in the 2018 playoffs when the Golden Knights lost to the Washington Capitals in five games in the Stanley Cup Final. He was 13-7 with a .927 save percentage and 2.24 GAA.
DeBoer was named coach of the Golden Knights on Jan. 15, after the firing of Gerard Gallant. Vegas, which was 3-0-0 in the round-robin, defeated the Blackhawks in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
Lehner, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the goalie voted as best in the NHL, last season when he played for the New York Islanders, is 116-120-45 with a 2.72 GAA, .918 save percentage and 15 shutouts in 301 NHL games (282 starts) with the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Islanders, Blackhawks and Golden Knights. He is 9-6 with a 2.21 GAA and .923 save percentage in 16 playoff games (14 starts).
While disappointed in his lack of playing time, Fleury insisted all was good with his relationship with his playing partner.
“It was good to talk, to see where we’re at,” Fleury said. “We all want to win, right? That’s why we’re here. I don’t like being a distraction to my team. Talked with Robin, too. I really like Robin. We have a good friendship and he’s a very good goalie, also. No hard feelings.”