Marc-Andre Fleury hadn't been jeered since, well, maybe only since the first month of the season.
But this was different. This wasn't a goaltender whose name is on the Stanley Cup having a rough start to the season for the Penguins, as Fleury did.
This was an NHL All-Star Game, Fleury's first one, where defense is nearly a dirty word. Fleury started for Team [Nicklas] Lidstrom, and after he allowed a fourth goal less than six minutes into the game Sunday, the crowd at RBC Center -- which was partial to Team [Eric] Staal -- derisively taunted Fleury.
"Oh, my God. Give me a break," Fleury said. "I'll see you [Carolina Hurricanes fans] again this year."
But it was a mock threat. Fleury was smiling. Not only did his Team Lidstrom come back for an 11-10 victory, but he also was thrilled just to be in such a star-studded lineup.
"It was a busy weekend, but it was a good time," Fleury said.
Ditto for the Penguins' other representative, defenseman Kris Letang, who scored two goals for Team Staal in what was his first All-Star Game, too.
"I took a lot out of it," Letang said. "I had the chance to chat with [Detroit defenseman] Nick Lidstrom, who was one of my idols, and [San Jose defenseman] Dan Boyle."
Chicago's Patrick Sharp had a goal and two assists for Team Staal and was named game MVP. Nashville defenseman Shea Weber had four assists for Team Lidstrom.
Loui Eriksson of Dallas scored an empty-net goal with 1:11 left in regulation for an 11-9 Team Lidstrom lead. It was his second goal of the game and turned out to be the winner because Staal, of host Carolina, scored with 33.6 seconds left.
Letang, who was paired with Marc Staal of the New York Rangers, was one of five players who had two goals.
He scored at 6:10 of the second period to give Team Staal a 6-4 lead when Vancouver's Daniel Sedin sent an uncontested pass to Washington's Alex Ovechkin from the right circle to the left circle, and Ovechkin easily set up Letang coming down the slot. Letang's rising shot beat Team Lidstrom goaltender Jonas Hiller of Anaheim.
Perhaps only in an All-Star Game would a sniper such as Ovechkin pass up a shot to set up a defenseman.
Team Lidstrom rallies after Fleury's slow start
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Jan 31