Hawks Insider

Blackhawks’ Fleury has storybook 500th win in Montreal

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Hawks Insider
Fleury earns 500th win

Marc-Andre Fleury is one of the most universally loved players in NHL history, and you couldn't have written a better script as he went for career win No. 500 on Thursday.

In his hometown of Montreal, Fleury stopped all 30 shots he faced and picked up his 69th career shutout to become the third goaltender ever to hit the 500-win mark. He also became the fastest to do so at 901 games.

"I just wanted to win," Fleury said following Chicago's 2-0 victory. "Bottom line, every night, that’s all I want. I want to win, whether it’s 5-4, 2-0, it’s just trying to find a way to win games. I’m happy it worked out tonight."

The most memorable part of the night came in the final seconds of the game when the Montreal faithful began to chant Fleury's name. A goosebumps-type scene.

"They don’t probably like me too much here," a smiling Fleury said. "I got booed and yelled at a lot throughout my career. I don’t know why, but in this building, I’ve always had a tough time winning games. It meant a lot, it meant a lot to have so many people from Quebec, being proud of me being from here and achieving this goal."

It wasn't just a memorable moment for Fleury.

"This was great, what a classy thing with the Habs fans," interim head coach Derek King said. "We thought we’d stay on the ice just as coaches to maybe give them some knuckles, but the fans, I’ve never seen anything like that before. I thought it was great for the Montreal fans, and then our players were jumping up and down. I’m glad it’s over with and he got it."

 

Only Martin Brodeur (691) and Patrick Roy (551) have more goaltending wins than Fleury, and it's difficult not to think about where Fleury could finish when his career is all said and done if he continues on this path. His career record improved to 500-286-82-68, which is absurd to think about when you reflect on his journey.

Fleury is one of three goaltenders in league history to be drafted first overall. The spotlight was on him from Day 1 yet he's lived up to the hype and then some.

Three Stanley Cups. 500 wins and counting. An additional 90 postseason victories. A future first-ballot Hockey Hall of Famer.

And to have a night like Thursday, celebrated by his hometown fans, beating the team he grew up rooting for and picking up a shutout while doing so for win No. 500? It doesn't get any better than that.

"The Canadiens were my favorite team," Fleury said. "I adored them then. I guess the NHL always seemed too far ahead, too good for me. I never really thought I was actually going to make it. I just kept playing, trying my best and having fun with it.

"Since the beginning of my career, it’s always special when I come to Montreal and play here, just because I’ve grown up idolizing them, right? It’s always special playing in front of the Quebecers, my friends and family, everybody’s watching and a lot of them were at the game tonight."

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