Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL on Tuesday.
Fleury, who won the award for the first time in his 17-season NHL career, was 26-10-0 and third in the NHL in wins and shutouts (six), and third in goals-against average (1.98) and save percentage (.928) among goalies to play at least 20 games. He started the season 5-0-0 and ended with a win in each of his final nine starts.
"It's such an honor," the 36-year-old said. "Obviously I tried to still be playing right now, but I think … look at the list of guys that won this trophy. A lot of them I loved watching them and I idolized [them], watching them. It's such an honor to be among them, and I think our team had such a commitment to play the right way and to play well defensively and blocking shots and making me look better. I honestly think that 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 qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fourth straight season. The Golden Knights lost to the Montreal Canadiens in six games in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Semifinals.
"I still love playing hockey, so it's not really work," Fleury said. "I come and try my best and try to change little things here and there, and I guess the way our team plays defense throughout the season, it's always a big help and it makes me look better. I thought I'd just come in, try my best and try to keep having fun."
Video: Best plays of Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury
Fleury allowed two goals or fewer in 25 of 36 starts and with Robin Lehner helped Vegas win the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals during 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 bit of a tougher season mentally, playing so many games," Fleury said. "Obviously I was very lucky to have such a great relationship with Robin, and to be able to support each other throughout the season and gain some rest too, because Robin 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 talk about plays.
"It doesn't matter if it's this year or another year, but I feel like this year has been tougher for most people around the world and I just feel fortunate that we were able to still play hockey and still do what we love, and obviously it's nice to recognized with this trophy."
Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning was second and Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche was third as the other finalists for the award, which was voted on by NHL general managers before the postseason began.
Vasilevskiy was 31-10-1 and led the NHL in wins for a fourth straight season. He was eighth in GAA (2.21), sixth in save percentage (.925) and fourth in shutouts (five).
Grubauer was 30-9-1 and second in wins (30) behind Vasilevskiy, and tied Semyon Varlamov of the New York Islanders for the NHL lead with seven shutouts.
"There are so many great goaltenders around the League," Fleury said. "There are so many big guys that can move and are fast and skilled. Philipp was consistent throughout the season, all year long. I liked watching him. I like how he does things.
"But to me, I think Vasilevskiy is the best goalie in the world right now and he's fun to watch. He's spectacular. He's skilled, he's quick, he's flexible. I think he's everything you need in a goalie, so I feel very honored and fortunate to have this chance today to actually win the trophy after 17 years. I feel pretty lucky for that."
2021 Vezina Trophy voting
1. Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK 108 (14-11-5)
2. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL 99 (12-12-3)
3. Philipp Grubauer, COL 36 (2-6-8)
4. Connor Hellebuyck, WPG 13 (2-0-3)
5. Semyon Varlamov, NYI 11 (1-1-3)
6. Juuse Saros, NSH 10 (0-1-7)
7. Mike Smith, EDM 2 (0-0-2)
Points allocation: 5-3-1 (1st-2nd-3rd)