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Could Penguins get booed for beating Marc-Andre Fleury? Team ponders crowd reaction

Jonathan Bombulie
| Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, 12:39 p.m.

Given the emotional nature of Marc-Andre Fleury's return to PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night, Penguins players have to be prepared for a possibility — however unlikely — that they probably never considered before.

Because of the goalie's popularity, there's an outside chance at least a portion of the crowd will boo a Penguins player for scoring a goal on Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights.

“I'm not sure it could go that far, but if there's ever a possibility, this is the one,” winger Bryan Rust said.

“I guess there is a chance, right?” winger Tom Kuhnhackl said. “He's been here for a long time. He's obviously a face of Pittsburgh. If you think of Flower, everybody thinks of Pittsburgh. If I score tonight, hopefully I don't get booed. That would be a little bad.”

There's another scenario in the same category that seems much more likely, however. If Fleury makes a spectacular breakaway save on a Penguins player, for example, especially at a moment when the game isn't hanging in the balance, there's a pretty good chance he'll receive an ovation.

“I think some people might throw out some cheers if he makes a big save tonight, even if they're wearing Penguins jerseys,” Rust conceded.

“If that happens, I'm going to laugh too,” Kuhnhackl said. “I'm going to go up to Flower and give him a tap on the pads.”

Fleury and Matt Murray were the first goalies off the ice at the end of their teams' morning skates Tuesday, so they remain on track to start the showdown game.

Matt Hunwick and Chad Ruhwedel were the last Penguins players on the ice, which indicates that they will be scratched and the team's lineup will remain the same as it was Saturday night in New Jersey.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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