Pens’ forecast contains Fleury
Marc-Andre Fleury doesn’t think anything he’s experienced in his 14-year career that could prepare him for his return to Pittsburgh.
Tonight, the Vegas Golden Knights goaltender — who won three Stanley Cups with the Penguins, including the last two seasons — will be back in Pittsburgh for the first time since Vegas selected him the expansion draft last summer.
Fleury played against — and beat — his former teammates in December in Las Vegas, but he said that doesn’t compare.
“I think it’s different from every game I’ve ever played,” the Penguins’ all-time winningest goaltender said. “In Vegas, I got a little taste of playing against friends and ex-teammates. I guess I got that out of the way. We’ll see.”
Fleury stopped 24 shots in that December game, the first meeting between the teams.
“There’s always motivation when you’re playing against friends and former teammates, especially the position we’re in and what happened when we were there,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “I’m sure he’s excited. It’s probably one he’s been thinking about for awhile.”
Fleury said it was weird to go through his routine in the visitors’ locker room but good to be back in Pittsburgh, where he spent 13 seasons.
Pittsburgh took Fleury as a 19-year-old with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NHL Draft. He set team records for games and minutes played, wins and shutouts.
Current starter Matt Murray stepped in when Fleury went down on the eve of the 2016 playoffs. Murray helped the Penguins to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup and eventually grabbed the No. 1 job.
Fleury knew his departure from Pittsburgh was inevitable last spring, but didn’t want to become a distraction as the Penguins sought to become the first team in nearly 20 years to win back-to-back championships.