Following a disastrous performance in Game 3, Marc-Andre Fleury may have lost his spot between the pipes for the Penguins this postseason.
At least for now, anyway.
Fleury was pulled after allowing four goals on nine shots during the Pens’ 5-1 blowout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. He was replaced by Matt Murray, who stopped 19 of 20 in relief. Now, all signs point to Murray starting Game 4 in Ottawa.
Matt Murray first out this morning. Had his own net at practice. He will face the @senators tonight. Marc-André Fleury doing extra.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) May 19, 2017
Coach Sullivan confirms that Matt Murray will start in net for Game Four. pic.twitter.com/gLmedygJG0
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 19, 2017
Murray was the starting goaltender for the Penguins during their Stanley Cup run last spring, and he followed that up with a great regular season as a rookie in 2016-2017. The 22-year-old posted a save percentage of .923 and a goals-against-average of 2.41 with four shutouts.
He was the team’s intended started heading into the postseason but suffered a groin injury while warming up prior to their first playoff game. Fleury, the 32-year-old vet who was the Penguins longtime starter before Murray and also led them to a Stanley Cup title in 2009, filled in and did so admirably.
In 15 appearances this postseason, Fleury has had a save percentage of .924 with a 2.56 GAA and two shutouts.
It’s a pretty difficult call for Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan, who has to go with the guy who was great for him last postseason and during the regular season, or the guy who has been great for him through much of this postseason and is a huge reason why they’re still playing right now.
Right now, it looks like Sullivan is going with Murray, and it’s hard to argue against it. The Penguins defense didn’t Fleury any favors in Game 3, but it might be fair to have concerns over the veteran coming back down to earth — he had a rough go of things while starting 34 games during the regular season — and there’s not much room for error with Penguins trailing in the series two games to one.
A win on Friday would pull the series even, while a loss would put Pittsburgh in a huge hole. That’s a huge potential swing, and it seems that Sullivan feels more comfortable going with the guy that was stronger in the last outing.
Source: Fox Sports