Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Marc-Andre Fleury has emotional return to Pittsburgh

Marc-Andre Fleury has emotional return to Pittsburgh

During the first TV timeout in the first period they roared during an extended tribute video and then kept cheering for so long that the linesman actually delayed for a minute before finally dropping the puck to continue the game.

"Flower" is thriving with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights but says his return to where he won a franchise record 375 games will be emotional.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier received a standing ovation from the crowd at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday as the NHL's Penguins faced off against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

- Fleury had 375 wins with the Penguins, 149 more than second place (Tom Barrasso) and 271 more than third place (Ken Wregget). Metropolitan and Golden Knights are 10-2 in their last 12 vs.

Fleury's career in Pittsburgh will be remembered fondly for many Penguins fans.

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He'd always justify it and say it was because of some disease he had. 'And Ringo? Don't even talk about it. And then, without missing a beat: "You know , I met Paul McCartney when he was 21".

What was meant to be a night for Marc-Andre Fleury to be celebrated turned into a goal fest in the first 40 minutes.

Reilly Smith paced the Golden Knights with a pair of goals with Ryan Carpenter and Alex Tuch also lighting the lamp. He remains a beloved figure in Pittsburgh's sports culture. Fleury refused to take the attention away from his teammates, which is in line with his penchant for always thinking of others. His three-game winning streak is over. It's my first game back here. "I don't think I'm going to block anything out, either".

Fleury's wife Veronique, their two daughters, his parents and his sister will be in attendance. Well, the Penguins asked Fleury if they could present his Stanley Cup ring to him in a pre-game ceremony on the ice and Fleury quickly declined, saying it would not be fair to his teammates.

"Everything is going to be weird, awkward", Fleury said.

"It was just unbelievable, the support I've gotten over the years here is just incredible".

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Fleury was back in the city where he started his National Hockey League career and spent more than a decade, helping to backstop the Penguins to multiple championships. He spent almost 20 minutes answering questions after practice to a throng of local and national media. "It just brought some fun memories".

"Marc's a true pro", Gallant said.

Still, I'm sure the warm welcome will have more longevity than the sting of the loss. He's got a lot of friends here.

"He's a leader. He's a great goaltender and that's why we're in the position we're in right now", Gallant said. Fleury's return to Pittsburgh got off to a good start, but it didn't finish the way he wanted. James Neal, David Perron and Deryk Engelland all played for the Pens.

Nor will they ever see anyone like him again in Pittsburgh.

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In Ottawa, Matt Duchene had a goal and two assists as the undermanned Senators beat New Jersey. Or does he move Oscar Lindberg back and have Tuch play with Leipsic and Cody Eakin on what has been an offensively ineffective third line of late?

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