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Jan 11, 2024 7:24 pm

Wild G Marc-Andre Fleury goes for milestone win vs. Flyers

Veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will have a chance to reach another milestone when the Minnesota Wild host the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night in Saint Paul, Minn.

The 39-year-old Fleury needs one more victory to pass Patrick Roy for sole possession of second place on the NHL’s all-time win list. Fleury and Roy are tied for second with 551 career victories.

Wild coach John Hynes elected to sit Fleury in his team’s most recent game Wednesday to allow rookie netminder Jesper Wallstedt to make his NHL debut. Hynes said he would like Fleury to make history on home ice but that was not the only reason for giving the veteran a break.

“(It’s) to make sure that we give him a little bit of a mental and physical breather before he gets back in,” Hynes said.

Fleury had started five games in a row before receiving the rest. He is 7-9-2 this season with a 3.12 goals-against average and an .892 save percentage.

This will be Fleury’s 61st career game against Philadelphia. He is 32-19-3 with a 2.87 GAA and a .902 save percentage against the Flyers.

Philadelphia hopes to spoil Fleury’s bid at history. The Flyers are coming off a 3-2 win at home over the Montreal Canadiens in the shootout round Wednesday night.

Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost scored during regulation time for Philadelphia, which has won two of its past three games. Sean Couturier scored the lone shootout goal.

“I think we battled hard for most of the night,” Couturier said. “We were controlling the play pretty well, and we stuck to it. It was a huge win.”

The Flyers are expected to turn back to Carter Hart in net against the Wild. Hart rested against Montreal as backup netminder Samuel Ersson stopped 17 of 19 shots to pick up the victory.

Hart, 25, is 10-8-3 with a 2.69 GAA and a .911 save percentage in 23 games this season. He lost his most recent start after allowing four goals on 39 shots against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In six career games against the Wild, Hart is 3-2-1 with a 3.47 GAA and an .882 save percentage.

Minnesota is eager for a victory as it looks to climb out of a recent skid. The Wild have lost their last two games and six of their last seven.

The lone bright spot during their recent slump is a 4-3 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 6, the day Fleury tied Roy. They have been outscored 28-12 in the past seven games.

Wild forward Mats Zuccarello said Wallstedt deserved no blame in net in the most recent loss.

“This is not on him,” Zuccarello said. “This is on us players. Didn’t do a good enough job of helping him. … We just have to play a little smarter hockey.”

Meanwhile, Flyers coach John Tortorella is optimistic that his team has emerged from a recent slump of its own after better performances as of late.

“I don’t think we’ve been playing fast enough, not direct enough,” he said. “I liked the speed of our game (against Montreal).”

The Wild are 10-8-2 at home this season. The Flyers are 11-6-4 on the road.

–Field Level Media

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