With three wins in as many games, the Vegas Golden Knights‘ NHL tenure is off to a historic start.
That early success is translating into an early confidence boost for a group of guys tossed together via the expansion process just a few months ago.
“We’re confident in what we have,” said Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who has backstopped the club in all three games so far, during an appearance on Good Show on Thursday. “We know where we stand and we know that we need to be good as a team to have success and every night the guys have shown up and worked hard to get those wins and that’s all we can ask from our team.”
The No. 1 netminder, who spent the first 13 years of his pro career in a passionate Pittsburgh market, also shared what it’s like to see hockey grow in a unique market like Vegas.
“I think people are starting to catch on. Everybody that we meet, everybody’s excited about the game, about having a professional team in their town,” he said. “We see a lot of hats, a lot of jerseys, t-shirts around town so it’s pretty cool.”
Fleury won three Stanley Cups with the Penguins before being selected by Vegas in the expansion draft in June. The 32-year-old veteran has posted impressive numbers so far, with a 1.32 goals against average and a .963 save percentage. The club will attempt win No. 4 Friday night when they host the Detroit Red Wings.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) October 12, 2017
Fleury described what it’s like to walk into a rink where everyone’s the new guy, and pointed out that the chemistry hasn’t been an issue.
“You come into the locker room, there’s no gangs yet, everybody’s in the same boat—we don’t know anybody, really,” he said. “You get a guy per team and you’ve got to make it work, so I thought we did a good job.”
“We’re lucky, we have a good bunch of guys, everybody maybe has a little chip on their shoulders trying to do the right thing here,” he explained. “Maybe that’s why we’re able to have some success. Chemistry is good too, I think, just with the few days we had all together, it’s been good.”
That chemistry is something the team has worked at.
“We always try to do things as a team, invite everybody over and do things together so we get to know each other a little quicker,” Fleury said. “I think that helps.”
It has been an emotional month in Vegas in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Mandalay Bay on Oct. 1, which left 58 people dead and almost 500 injured. The team remembered the victims and honoured the first responders in an emotional pregame tribute ahead of their home opener on Tuesday evening.
Fleury spoke about hockey’s role as a distraction for a city that is showing everyone how resilient it is.
“We can’t heal anybody, we can’t fix anybody, but we I think if we can give the city something to cheer for and be proud of the team and change their minds for a few hours at night when we play,” Fleury said. “There’s still a lot of people suffering physically, emotionally. So if we can change their mind a bit, and try to get them cheering about something, that would be nice.”