SEATTLE – – Marc-Andre Fleury made NHL history and all he could do was smile at what it meant.
“I think it just means I’m old, maybe,” Fleury said after getting a shutout against the 28th different team, the highest of any goaltender in NHL history. “I’ve been playing for a while I guess.”
Fleury scored the 72nd regular-season shutout of his career and ensured Mats Zuccarrello’s goal stood late in the first half as the Minnesota Wild ended Seattle’s five-game winning streak with a 1-0 win over the Kraken on Friday night.
Fleury was level with Ed Belfour, Dominik Hasek, Martin Brodeur and Tomas Vokoun, all of whom had ruled out 27 teams in their careers. The only teams Fleury hasn’t ruled out yet: Columbus, St. Louis, Vegas and… Minnesota.
Fleury made 28 saves and excelled in the third period as Seattle pushed for the equalizer and made their first shutout in their 22nd regular season game with the Wild. Fleury made three stops on Oliver Björkstrand and Yanni Gourde in the closing seconds.
“It just seems like we’re playing them at home or here, it’s a bit boring and not too much action on either side,” Fleury said. “We played a little defensively and didn’t give them much. It’s good. It gives us a chance to win every night if we do that.”
Fleury had four shutouts with Chicago last season before being traded to Minnesota.
Zuccarello scored his sixth goal of the season at 18:19 in the first half, finding an open spot in the slot and defeating Seattle goaltender Martin Jones.
Jones made 20 saves in another strong performance for Seattle. His stop on Mason Shaw’s outnumbered escape early in the third period kept Seattle’s deficit to just one, but the Kraken couldn’t find a decisive goal.
“We couldn’t find a way to get one over with, so this is one of those nights,” said Seattle coach Dave Hakstol. “You have to find a dirty one somewhere or a greasy one, and we couldn’t do that tonight.”
The Kraken ended their longest winning streak in the franchise’s two seasons. Part of that winning streak was a 4-0 win in Minnesota last week when Seattle beat Fleury.
He wouldn’t let that happen again. Fleury has conceded a goal or fewer in three of his last four starts after giving up a total of 24 goals in his first seven of the season.
“He admitted he was trying to do a little too much instead of just doing his job. We all did. If we go back to doing your job and committing to it like he did, we have a chance to win every night,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said.
Minnesota’s goal came late in the first half when Jon Merrill’s cross-ice pass bounced off the side rails and slid unmarked onto Zuccarello’s bat. His wrist shot struck Jones.
It was Merrill’s first point of the season in his 10th game. Kirill Kaprizov also received an assist for the game, which earned him 16 points in 14 games.
Seattle played its first game since D. Jamie Oleksiak ended up on injured reserve with a lower body injury. Cale Fleury moved into the lineup for the first time this season, while Gustav Olofsson was recalled from the Coachella Valley. … Minnesota forward Jordan Greenway has had a setback as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury sustained last month, Evason said after the morning’s skating. Greenway played in Los Angeles on Tuesday, but it was only his second appearance of the season and first since October 20. Evason said Greenway “may need a little more rehab time to come back.” … Seattle D Adam Larsson skated in his 700th career game.
Wild: Minnesota returns home to host San Jose on Sunday.
Kraken: Seattle hosts Winnipeg on Sunday.
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