In the Habs’ Room: Marc-André Fleury makes history at the Bell Center

Fans chant his name after the Blackhawks goalkeeper beat the Canadiens 2-0 to become the third goalkeeper to win 500 games in the NHL.

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The home team lost again, but the tight-packed crowd at the Bell Center had something to celebrate when Sorel native Marc-André Fleury claimed his 500th career victory.


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As the seconds ticked by in the Blackhawks’ 2-0 win over the Canadiens on Thursday night, the crowd erupted into a shout of “Fleury, Fleury, Fleury.”

His teammates assaulted the goalkeeper when the final horn sounded and there was another chorus of Fleury’s chant as he was introduced as the number one star of the game.

“I don’t know why, but in this building I’ve always had a hard time winning games,” said Fleury, who joined his teammates for a post-game meal of poutine and hot dogs. “It meant a lot to have so many people from Quebec that maybe they were proud that I came from here and achieved this goal.”

Fleury is one of the most loved people in the game and coach Dominique Ducharme was happy to see him get 500, but he wasn’t happy it happened here.


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“It must be special to him,” Ducharme said. “Five hundred victories, you have to take your hat off. We would like him to do it, but not against us. “

Fleury made 30 saves, including five in the final 90 seconds, to record the 69th shutout of his career. He was joined by Quebecers Martin Brodeur (691 wins) and Patrick Roy (551) as the only goalkeepers to win 500 games. To put the achievement in perspective, the next active goalkeeper on the list is Carey Price with 360.

Jonathan Drouin, who made four shots on target, the team’s best, paid tribute to Fleury.

“I trained with Marc-André for several summers when I was young,” Drouin said. “He is one of the nicest people I have ever met in my career. He is very humble and is always working on his game. Honestly, I would have preferred to see him win his 500th game on TV tomorrow or another day, but I’m happy for him. Well deserved. “


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Ducharme said there were some positives to take out of the game.

“We were there until the end,” Ducharme said. “Five against five, it was a fairly even game. They scored a power goal and a mistake eight minutes from time cost us. We did some good things, but we want to generate more offensively. Defensively, they were pretty solid (and) we didn’t give up much. Fleury didn’t make a ton of saves, but he did make the key saves at the right time. “

It was the fifth loss in a row, but Ducharme said he wasn’t worried that losing has become acceptable.

“We have to focus on the way we play,” Ducharme said. “If you look at the last three games, you can’t say that we gave up the games, that we didn’t show up. We are going to stick with that and monitor what we can do every day. Down inside. everyone is a competitor. “


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Jake Allen put on another solid performance. Jonathan Toews scored on a power play for his first goal of the season and Henrik Borgstrom received a treat when an errant pass from Alexander Romanov gave him a shot point-blank from the slot.

Brett Kulak said the Canadiens have played better in recent games despite mounting injuries.

“There are many things that we are doing better, in which we have improved and we are giving ourselves opportunities to win,” Kulak said. “The important thing now is to continue building on our strengths. Jake (Allen) is playing very well and he gives us a chance to win every game. We just have to polish a few things and find a way to take the initiative and play well when we’re ahead. “

Jesse Ylönen made his debut for the season after he was called up from Laval to replace the injured Christian Dvorak. He played only seven minutes, but saw some time in the power play.

“My experience last year allowed me to see the speed of the game in the NHL and the level of competition,” Ylönen said. “I felt a little more comfortable this time.”

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