He’s No. 2! Fleury passes Roy for second spot in wins

Marc-Andre Fleury got pulled from a junior game once when he was 16 years old.

Back then, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, who Fleury played for in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, had the backup goalie on the bench track shots and where they came from. After the game, then-coach Pascal Vincent looked at the paper Fleury should have been scribbling on, but there weren’t any stats.

All Fleury wrote was, “I’m not a statistician. I’m a goalie.”

The second-winningest goaltender of all time, eventually.

A week-plus after tying Patrick Roy, Fleury passed his childhood idol — the goalie he used to pretend to be — on Monday to take sole possession of second place in NHL history at 552 wins after the Wild blanked the Islanders 5-0 at Xcel Energy Center to end their four-game slide since Fleury matched Roy on Jan. 6 at Columbus.

“My dream was to play in the NHL,” Fleury said. “I was so happy to play that first game. From then on, it was just one game at a time, one win at a time, trying to win the next one. I’ve been very fortunate to play with really great teams, great teammates, people that helped me stay healthy throughout the journey.

“It feels crazy to be here now.”

The Wild will honor Fleury for surpassing Roy and becoming the fourth goaltender to play 1,000 games on Feb. 9 against Pittsburgh.

“I always admire seeing you jumping on the ice, watching you practicing with your teammates or playing games, challenging your teammates, your opponent,” Roy said in a video message the Wild released while commemorating Fleury for 1,000 games. “But I always admire the fun you had on the ice.”

Fleury was swarmed by his Wild teammates after his first shutout of the season and 74th in his career, his 21 saves complementing a much-needed airtight effort by the offense and defense in the Wild’s second win in their last 10 games.

“Finally, right?” said Fleury, whose daughter Estelle and son James joined him in the locker room postgame while their sister Scarlett recovered from having her tonsils removed. “It’s been a little rough, lately. I wish we could have done this a little while ago.”

Mats Zuccarello scored on the power play just 2 minutes, 11 seconds into the first period and Connor Dewar buried a turnover at 2:18 of the second before Joel Eriksson Ek capitalized twice — on the power play (13:36 of the second) and shorthanded (16:09 of the third) — and Marcus Foligno completed the rout with 57 seconds left.

The Wild’s power play finished 2-for-5 and their penalty kill 5-for-5.

Zuccarello, in his 800th game, and Foligno also picked up assists, while Dewar (17 games) and Eriksson Ek (10) snapped goalless droughts; Dewar’s seven goals are a career high. New York’s Ilya Sorokin had 29 saves before Kenneth Appleby had six in relief.

“It felt like a championship game a bit the way guys celebrated,” said Fleury, who was in vintage form.

He thanked the crossbar when the Islanders hit the post.

“It’s pretty cool to play with a guy like that,” said Jonas Brodin, who returned after missing 17 games with a thumb injury.

As Fleury closed in on the milestone, the clock winding down, fans chanted his name.

“What a feeling to have the crowd, 18,000, chanting your name,” said Fleury, who will decide after the season whether he’ll retire. “Get a little goosebumps. Where else in life are you going to get that? I’ll cherish that for a long time.”

Fleury, 39, trails only Martin Brodeur and said he’d need 15 more years to catch Brodeur’s 691 victories.

But with how the workload for NHL goaltenders has declined, it’s possible no one eclipses Fleury. The closest active goalie is the Rangers’ Jonathan Quick, who is 17th at 384 victories.

“It feels like first place, the record, really,” Foligno said. “It’s special. I think even for a French Canadian boy, too, to be with Patty Roy and Martin Brodeur, guys that he looked up to, pretty special. Yeah, I think he’ll stay there for a while.”

The first overall draft pick in 2003 by the Penguins, Fleury has three Stanley Cups and a Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie, a pedigree that makes him a lock for the Hall of Fame after also suiting up for the Golden Knights and Blackhawks.

“It’s pretty amazing what he’s been able to do, the consistency he’s had,” Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said. “To be able to do that, you have to adjust. You have to find ways to get better and improve, and he’s done that throughout his whole career. It says a lot about him.”

Fleury’s junior coach, Vincent, who’s now behind the bench for the Blue Jackets and watched Fleury tie Roy in person, isn’t surprised.

Back then, the Screaming Eagles planned to return Fleury to his midget team, but they couldn’t.

“Every practice he was just the best guy out there,” Vincent recalled.

BOXSCORE: Wild 5, New York Islanders 0

As for how he handled Fleury blowing off his statistician duties, Vincent was mad, but he also loved Fleury’s response.

“It told me a lot about his character,” Vincent recalled. “He wanted to be a goalie.”

One of the best ever.

“He’s a better guy than a goalie,” Zuccarello said, “and that says a lot when you have the second-best goalie in the world.”