New Wild coach John Hynes assesses goaltending on a situational basis, but he has made it clear he believes it takes a tandem of two to win in the NHL.
And if a competitive vibe develops, that might even help the team.
"Both guys know the other guy can play at any given time," Hynes said.
Only a week into his tenure, Hynes is leading the Wild toward that dynamic: Both goalies are coming off victories after Marc-Andre Fleury backstopped the team to a 4-1 takedown of the Blackhawks on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center in his first start since Hynes took over.
"We were in such a deep hole that it just feels good to relax a bit, get some wins, see some smiles," said Fleury, referring to the seven-game skid that preceded this 3-0 surge by the Wild under Hynes. "But it's never easy. The parity around the league is very good, so there's no easy nights, right?
"Anybody can beat anybody, so you always have to be ready and consistent."
Not only have Fleury and Filip Gustavsson picked up much-needed wins recently — Gustavsson hadn't won in more than a month, and Fleury was approaching that long of a drought — but they have looked sharp.
"Everyone knew they weren't at their best, but we weren't doing anything to help them," forward Brandon Duhaime said of the goalies' early struggles.
Gustavsson, who will start Tuesday in Calgary, was tagged for only one goal in the slump-busting victory over St. Louis last Tuesday and then again Thursday at Nashville, a game in which he made some clutch stops early before the Wild cruised to a 6-1 romp.
On Sunday, Fleury was at his best early, denying seven shots from Chicago's power play to preserve a 1-0 lead for the Wild before it ballooned later in the first period.
"I had to catch my breath a little bit at the end," said Fleury, who credited the flurry with helping him get into the game after a two-week hiatus; his last start was Nov. 19 in Sweden.
But rust wasn't a factor for the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer, and his 28 saves culminated in his fourth victory of the season and the 548th of his career; he's four away from surpassing Patrick Roy for the second-most victories in NHL history.
"I don't try to prove myself," Fleury said when asked about playing for a new coach. "I just want to help when I'm in there, try to do my part, try to win. I think bottom line, that's all that matters.
"If it's me, if it's Fil, if he's in there, I'll encourage him. I just want to win. That's what matters most."
Staff writer Randy Johnson contributed to this story.