Marc-Andre Fleury savoring plentiful playing time as Penguins come to town
Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t know what he had until it was gone.
Fleury came into Saturday night’s showdown between the Vegas Golden Knights and Pittsburgh Penguins as the NHL’s leader in minutes played with 2,494, almost 200 more than second-place John Gibson of Anaheim.
Fleury has started 42 of his team’s first 49 games and has been playing Vezina Trophy-caliber hockey, going 26-12-4 with a .911 save percentage and six shutouts.
In the middle of his career, a heavy workload was commonplace for Fleury. He made at least 60 starts in six of seven seasons between 2008-15.
Once Matt Murray emerged as a viable NHL starter, however, Fleury started a total of 80 games in his final two seasons in a Penguins uniform.
All things considered, he likes his current workload better.
“When you take things for granted and then they’re taken away from you, then you realize what you had,” Fleury said. “I’m just going to enjoy what I have right now, enjoy being on the ice with my teammates and playing some games.”
On Saturday night, Fleury is scheduled to make his third start against his former team.
He won the first, making 24 saves as the Golden Knights beat the Penguins, 2-1, on Dec. 14 last season in Las Vegas.
He lost the second, making 33 saves and giving up goals to Ryan Reaves, Ian Cole, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel in a 5-4 Golden Knights loss at PPG Paints Arena on Feb. 6.
The first time the teams met this season, Fleury didn’t play because he started in Washington the night before. With backup Malcolm Subban in net, the Penguins won 4-2 on Oct. 11 in Pittsburgh.
Fleury much prefers the role he’ll play in the second meeting Saturday night.
“I love to play. I love the game,” Fleury said. “I love to be out there, to try to help my teammates. It’s a lot more fun playing than sitting on the bench.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .