Published Saturday, April 1, 2023 | 9:33 p.m.
Updated Saturday, April 1, 2023 | 11:21 p.m.
Tasked with facing a team on the Golden Knights’ tail in the Western Conference standings, Laurent Brossoit was brilliant on Saturday with a 29-save performance in Vegas’ 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild at T-Mobile Arena.
It was arguably the best performance of the season for Brossoit, who was making his fourth appearance since returning from a lower-body injury.
“I think I’m starting to get that part of my game back since injury,” Brossoit said. “That’s when I know I’m feeling good is when I don’t do a lot in terms of movement and efficiency so I can just make reads and track the puck.”
Brossoit improved to 3-0-3 on the season, helping Vegas (47-22-7, 101 points) become the first team to eclipse 100 points in the Western Conference.
This win will go in the books as the night he outdueled former Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury, the former Vezina Trophy winner with Vegas, lost his second start against his former team this season. He finished with 39 saves.
Fleury, the former face of the franchise, received a warm welcome in his second game back at T-Mobile Arena. And it wasn’t just from the hundreds of Wild fans that made the trek from St. Paul, Minn., to the snow-free aspects of Southern Nevada.
Golden Knights supporters, some with homemade signs to show their love for Fleury, were front and center for his return.
Brossoit couldn’t help but look at the highlight-reel saves Fleury was making 200 feet away. Even when the Wild were down 3-1 in the third period, Fleury did all he could to keep Minnesota in it.
But Brossoit, from the early moments of the game, looked slightly better. That’s all the Golden Knights needed.
Minnesota is a physical team that uses its size the right way to make life tough on the opposing goalie. The Wild make it look easy to get in the slot and create dangerous chances from in close.
Brossoit turned away two of those in the first period that could’ve quickly turned this game into the previous two before it against Edmonton and San Jose — ugly in a hurry.
Despite Brossoit giving up the first goal of the game five minutes in — one that wasn’t his fault — he settled in by stopping the final 23 shots he faced.
“Looked a little more like before he was hurt,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I think it’s safe to say he was under control and finding pucks. Rebounds were not in harm’s way. No unforced errors, so to speak. We need that. We need solid goaltending, and he looked comfortable in there.”
Brossoit’s body of work has been derailed by injuries, but his play when healthy has created a healthy discussion on what the Golden Knights do in goal heading into the playoffs.
When healthy, a case can be made that Brossoit has been Vegas’ best goalie. In the 14 goals he’s given up, less than half of them can be considered “bad” goals.
He’s always brought a calm demeanor whenever he’s in net. In a game that Vegas needed to win, he showed that again.
“Any time you can get a few saves under your belt in the first period, you get confident and it translates for the rest of the game,” Brossoit said. “And that happened tonight.”
Jack Eichel had two assists, and Ben Hutton scored for Vegas.