Marc-Andre Fleury’s had a lot of practice over the years trying to score into empty nets.
All of that work paid off on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena during the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
The netminder’s dream of putting a puck in the back of the net instead of keeping it out came true – twice over – when he nailed his portion of the Skills Challenge Relay: Goalie Goals.
“Happy they went in, so I know the puck fits in there,” Fleury joked afterward. “It’s on camera, right? I score goals in practice sometimes, but not a lot of people see those.”
From his own crease, Fleury had to keep shooting a puck over a barrier at the blue line into the net at the other end of the ice until he got two of them in.
Earlier this season, Penguins teammate Kris Letang joked that if Fleury ever wanted to score a goal, “I think he needs to spend a little bit more time in the workout room and make sure he does some wrist curls.”
Looks like he’s been pumping that iron, as it took Fleury just five attempts to reach his quota.
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Fleury scoffed of Letang. “I knew I could get over the little thing and finally get a goal. So I was pumped about that.”
Letang may not have believed that Fleury could get it done, but Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo never lost faith.
“I saw video of him stickhandling as a forward,” Luongo said. “He has some good hands. I knew that he was going to be able to pot a couple pretty quick.”
Fleury was also in net for Round 2 of the Discover NHL Shootout, where he faced the following All-Stars from Team Toews: Justin Faulk, Johnny Gaudreau, John Tavares, Brent Seabrook, Patrik Elias, Rick Nash and Mark Giordano.
Team Foligno had a commanding 15-4 lead going into the final event, but there was a catch: every goal allowed in the shootout counted as a point. So even though Team Toews was down by a lot, they certainly had a big opportunity to close the gap and come from behind to take the win.
Fleury did his part to keep them from doing that, stopping eight of those 10 shooters. Only Seabrook and Nash were able to beat the Penguins goaltender. With the stakes so high, he didn’t bring out any of his hilarious shootout moves like jumping jacks, pushups, shooting a fake gun, spinning around, covering his eyes, or even sitting on top of the net before jumping down to challenge
“That’s the thing, every goal counted,” Fleury said. “I felt bad, too, guys didn’t have helmets on, so I didn’t want to poke check their skates and then they go fall on the boards and stuff.
“So I stayed calm,” he continued with a smile. “I didn’t do too many foolish things. I knew I had a little room to breathe, especially going into shooting pucks and for the breakaways, too. So it was nice. The home team won (25-19), so it’s a good thing.”