ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Marc-Andre Fleury made the best save of his career against Nic Petan. Now they’re Wild teammates

Both players shared their thoughts on the highlight-reel save

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 25, 2022, in St. Paul.
Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 25, 2022, in St. Paul.
Matt Blewett / USA Today Sports

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury still doesn’t consider it the best save of his career.

As long as he lives, that distinction is reserved for his denial of Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final. In the waning seconds, Fleury scrambled to get himself square with Lidstrom. He left his skates completely, positioned his body like he was diving in front of a bullet, and stopped the puck as time expired.

MORE MINNESOTA WILD COVERAGE:
NHL
The game hasn't been played in Toronto since 2000, the eighth time it had the honor. Toronto also hosted in 1934, 1947, 1949, 1951, 1962-64 and 1968.
NHL
Ovechkin and Crosby have been huge rivals throughout their careers, but the collaboration is a sign of how much they have put it in the past.
NHL
Boldy, 21, has 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 42 games this season, his second with the Wild.
NHL
Upcoming road trip features Washington, Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay.
NHL
After the Wild went for a line change in OT, the referees whistled them for too many men on the ice.
NHL
This year, the NHL is selecting one All-Star from every team and fans will vote for the final 12 players -- three more added to each division's roster. Those results are expected to be announced Jan. 19.
NHL
It would have been the frontrunner for goal of the year. Instead, it was a near miss, still worthy of a spot on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10.
NHL
With as many as 300 friends, family and Elk River community supporters there to see him, the former St. Cloud State star defenseman played his first NHL game in his home state.
NHL
He has been playing on a line with Freddy Gaudreau and Matt Boldy, and scored a pair of goals on Dec. 31 as the Wild defeated the Blues 5-2.
NHL
Former Gopher has impressed with play since call up.

It makes sense that Fleury still holds that save near and dear to his heart. It proved to be the difference as the Penguins were crowned Stanley Cup champions. The magnitude of the moment separates it from every other save he’s ever made.

When considering the degree of difficulty, though, Fleury’s magnum opus came more than a decade later. On Nov. 19, 2019, he made what the masses consider to be the best save of his career, robbing a young player by the name of Nic Petan on the doorstep.

Now teammates in the Wild locker room, Fleury and Petan sat down with the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Friday to discuss the highlight.

ADVERTISEMENT

The details of the play itself aren’t lost on either player. At the time, Fleury was playing for the Golden Knights and Petan was playing for the Maple Leafs.

The sequence started with Maple Leafs winger Ilya Mikheyev ringing a shot off the crossbar while on the rush.

“It went in the corner and it hit the ref,” Fleury recalled. “I was finding it slowly then it bounced right to him. Not as much time as I thought. I saw him shoot and I tried to save it.”

That he did. In an act of desperation, Fleury leapt across the crease and snatched the puck out of midair, sending the home crowd at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas into oblivion.

Minnesota Wild center Nic Petan looks to pass against the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 1, 2022, in St. Paul.
Minnesota Wild center Nic Petan looks to pass against the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 1, 2022, in St. Paul.
Brace Hemmelgarn / USA Today Sports

“Disbelief,” Petan said after rewatching the play on YouTube. “As a guy going up and down at the time, a goal goes a long way there, so it would’ve been nice to get that.”

Asked what was going through his head when he realized he was out of position, Fleury smiled and replied with a word not fit for print.

“Luckily, it was on his backhand,” Fleury said. “That gave me a little more time to get across and judge the height and catch it.”

Maybe the outcome would’ve been different had Petan shot right-handed. In that scenario, he would’ve received the bouncing puck on his forehand, and theoretically, he would’ve been able to get a lot more on the shot.

ADVERTISEMENT

Instead, Petan will forever be on the other end of a career highlight for Fleury.

“Not sure it would’ve made a difference with Flower in there,” Petan said with a laugh. “I’m just glad I got the shot off.”

The ability to sprawl across the crease so suddenly still doesn’t compute to Petan. That athleticism has long been a hallmark of Fleury’s style between the pipes. He showcased it once again in Thursday’s win, stretching his blocker out to deny Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

“Those are the most fun saves,” he said. “The shooter thinks it’s going to go in and then it doesn’t go in. You see them on the jumbotron shaking their head. It’s fun.”

That’s exactly the reaction Petan had once upon a time. When it was suggested that Petan could have used that goal a lot more than Fleury could use the save at point in their careers, the 38-year-old goaltender expressed some sympathy.

“Oh, jeez,” Fleury said. “Sorry, Nic.”

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA WILD
What to read next
NHL
William Carrier, Chandler Stephenson and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist, and the visiting Vegas Golden Knights held the Nashville Predators to a season-low 17 shots on goal en route to a 5-1 victory on Tuesday night.
NHL
Samuel Bolduc and Bo Horvat scored milestone goals and Ilya Sorokin stopped all 32 shots he faced Tuesday night for the host New York Islanders, who continued surging with a 4-0 win over the Seattle Kraken in Elmont, NY.
NHL
Warren Foegele scored two second-period goals, and the visiting Edmonton Oilers defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Tuesday night.
NHL
Frank Vatrano scored 2:15 into overtime to lift the visiting Anaheim Ducks to a 3-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.