Sidney Crosby said Thursday he is glad former teammate Marc-Andre Fleury has reached the Stanley Cup Final with the Vegas Golden Knights.
"I am happy for him," the Pittsburgh Penguins captain told The Athletic. "He's having a lot of fun, you can tell, and as a friend having played with him for a long time it's great to see him doing well. He's a great person who works really hard and he's a big part of his team's success right now."
Fleury will try to win the Stanley Cup for a third straight season, after back-to-back championships with Pittsburgh, starting with Game 1 against the Washington Capitals at Vegas on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).
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Fleury, who was selected No. 1 in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Penguins, played his first 13 seasons in Pittsburgh, winning 375 games and the Stanley Cup three times (2009, 2016, 2017) before he was left unprotected and was selected by the Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.
"I think he was motivated for sure," Crosby said. "Goaltenders are strong mentally and competitive; you have to be in order to play the position. [Fleury] is the same, he believes in himself and loves the game. He wants to be there helping the team making the big saves. That's exactly what he's doing right now. They are playing some great hockey and he's making big saves."
Video: Is Fleury the front-runner for the Conn Smythe?
Fleury had an NHL career-best save percentage (.927) and goals-against average (2.24) with the Golden Knights in the regular season. The 33-year-old leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 1.68 GAA, .947 save percentage and four shutouts.
Vegas is four wins from becoming the second team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup in its inaugural season (Toronto Arenas in 1918, first NHL season).
"He's the most experienced guy in that room with the most Cups," Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford told The Athletic. "He's the guy that people want to be around. Because he's positive, he's happy go lucky, and he comes to work and to win. It's very understandable. When [Golden Knights general manager George McPhee] and I first started talking, I said at the time: 'He will be the face of your franchise. He will lead your team.'"
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