Published Wednesday, March 21, 2018 | 2:37 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, March 21, 2018 | 4:38 p.m.
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury suffered an injury in Tuesday night’s game against the Canucks and will not travel with the team today to San Jose, coach Gerard Gallant said.
Fleury made seven saves in the opening period Tuesday night but went into the locker room for the first intermission and never returned.
The 33-year-old netminder wasn’t on the ice for practice this morning at City National Arena. In his place, emergency goalie Alex Bjerk manned the net opposite Malcolm Subban.
“I’m not getting into specifics of what (Fleury) is doing, but he’s not going to come (to San Jose) today,” Gallant said. “He could join us tomorrow or in the very near future. He’s not coming on our plane today. He could be there tomorrow. He could be there the next day. I’m not sure.”
Fleury suffered a concussion Oct. 13 that kept him out of action for more than two months. It was his third recorded concussion of his career. He suffered two concussions in the 2015-16 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
While Gallant didn’t specify what type of injury Fleury suffered, it might have happened midway through the first period when he was hit in the mask or plastic throat protector on a shot by Canucks’ forward Brandon Sutter.
Fleury showed no signs of injury after the play, however, and wasn’t checked out by trainers following the shot or in the ensuing television timeout.
With Fleury’s status up in the air, Subban could be the goalie to lead the Golden Knights onto the ice in Thursday’s matchup against San Jose.
“I’m not too sure what’s going on right now, but I’ll be ready if I get the call,” Subban said. “I’m just trying to take it game by game. We’re going down the stretch here trying to get wins, and if I’m in the net, I’m going to try to give my team a chance to win the game.”
Oscar Dansk has been recalled from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League to backup Subban in San Jose, and possibly further. Dansk was 3-0 for the Golden Knights early in the season, including the first shutout in franchise history in a 7-0 win over the Avalanche on Oct. 27.
Subban stopped 20 of 21 shots he faced Tuesday and has a spectacular record of 11-3-1 this season.
“I’m trying to be good technically,” Subban said. “Our team doesn’t give me too many hard chances and they defend pretty well, so I’m just trying to make the saves I’m supposed to make. As a backup, that’s your job to make sure you’re ready at all times. It’s been great learning from (Fleury). I’ve learned a lot from him this year and that has helped me a lot.”
The 23-year-old missed six weeks with an upper-body injury, with his first action after returning coming in Tuesday night’s 4-1 win. If he’s the goalie going forward for Vegas, his teammates are confident they will continue winning.
“I’m really confident,” forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “He has proven that he’s a really good goaltender. I think it’s hard when you’re on a team and you have two goaltenders like that, that are quality goaltenders. We are lucky and whoever is in net, we feel confident we can win the game.”
The team flies to San Jose today for a Thursday night matchup with the Sharks, who are chasing the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division. They trail Vegas by eight points with only nine games remaining, so Thursday’s game is significant.
From there, the Golden Knights fly to Colorado to take on the Avalanche on Saturday.
Clarity on Fleury’s status doesn’t appear to be in sight. When asked what he could say about the injury, Gallant replied, “Nothing.”