Fleury relishes support from Penguins fans as deadline looms

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Head coach Mike Sullivan insisted the Pittsburgh media was too quick to conclude Marc-Andre Fleury's home start Thursday versus the Winnipeg Jets would be his last in a Penguins uniform.

If it was, it was fittingly special.

On the same night that longtime teammate and close friend Sidney Crosby reached 1,000 points for his career, Fleury led the Penguins to victory with a vintage 44-save performance.

Whether the fans picked up on the narrative or were simply appreciating his acrobatics, Fleury heard the chants of his name, and stopped to appreciate them.

Afterward, he became emotional when asked about the support he received Thursday and throughout his career with the Penguins.

"The support I get here is always amazing you know, and again tonight," he said, after taking a deep breath and cracking a smile.

"You don't know what's coming. That was nice."

In order to retain Matt Murray, the second-year star coming into the No. 1 role for the Penguins, general manager Jim Rutherford must either shed Fleury or cut a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights before the expansion draft.

If Fleury remains with Pittsburgh beyond the March 1 deadline, one of few remaining windows of opportunity to receive value in return on the asset - and to avoid issuing a buyout - will close on the Penguins.