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Fleury: 'I don't want to just quit' on Wild in playoff race

Christopher Mast / National Hockey League / Getty

This might be Marc-Andre Fleury's last season in the NHL, and he wants to ride it out with the Minnesota Wild as they battle for a playoff spot.

"I don't want to just quit, right?" he said, according to The Athletic's Joe Smith. "I like this. I like the guys. It's a great bunch of guys. When you're so close, you want to do it all for each other. It's been fun lately winning a bit more, too."

Minnesota has been one of the league's best teams coming out of the All-Star break, owning a 7-1-1 record and the second-best points percentage (.833). The Wild ended Sunday four points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference as a result of the red-hot run.

"If we were last in the conference, maybe it'd be a little bit different," Fleury said. "But this is my team. We've been battling together, right? I take pride in winning with this team. I want us to make the playoffs. That's my first priority.

"I think being in the hunt, it's fun, it's challenging. And I want to be here and see this team make the playoffs."

It's been a roller-coaster campaign for the Wild, who were in 30th place when they fired head coach Dean Evason in late November. Minnesota has since gone an admirable 23-14-2 under John Hynes, but even that stretch has been marred by some major dips: The Wild dropped eight out of nine contests earlier this winter.

Fleury has been key to Minnesota's recent turnaround, boasting a .908 save percentage and a 4-1-0 record since Feb. 7.

With many contenders in need of a serviceable backup goaltender, Fleury could be a valuable asset at the deadline. However, the affable veteran's future is entirely up to him, thanks to his full no-move clause. The Wild have five games remaining before March 8.

Fleury has three Stanley Cup championships to his name, and he's made the playoffs in each of the last 17 seasons. Despite the Wild's improvement, his streak is still in danger, as Minnesota only has a 27.7% chance of making the postseason, per MoneyPuck.

The 39-year-old took sole possession of second place on the NHL's all-time wins list earlier this season with his 552nd victory. Fleury owns a 12-10-3 record and an .899 save percentage on the campaign.

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