Mike Sullivan isn't any hurry to announce who will start in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Friday's critical Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa. It's a somewhat similar situation to last season, when Murray suffered a concussion in the Penguins' regular season finale and sat out the team's first two playoff games before taking over for Fleury and helping lead Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup.
Mike Hoffman kicked things off with a great read on a ricocheting puck just 48 seconds in, beating Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury right in front to put the Sens ahead 1-0.
But Matt Murray is in net, and Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin all healthy - this game is far from over. well, until they still couldn't earn a second-period goal and Kyle Turris closed out the period blowing by Murray to make it a 5-0 lead.
Heading into the third, the only real questions were how many goals the Senators would score, and whether Craig Anderson would maintain the shutout. He nearly completely shut down the Blue Jackets' attack in three of five contests, he absolutely flustered the Capitals' offense, stealing at least two games in the second round, and, heading into Wednesday, had only failed to stop two of the Senators' 58 shots.
Our fearless leader makes the case for why Matt Murray should get the nod in goal from Game 4 over Fleury. Ten players found their way onto the scoresheet for Ottawa, and five of them-Methot, Turris, Brassard, Hoffman and Bobby Ryan-recorded two points in the contest. "We still know what we have to do out there to be successful as a group".
What gives Pittsburgh the "best chance" is open to interpretation and neither goalie would reveal much.
Murray, who started 47 times during the regular season, has backed up Marc-Andre Fleury since returning from injury before Game 7 of a second-round series against the Washington Capitals. "We've hit some posts and had some good looks". We just have to go out there and execute it and do our job. "It's out of my control, so I don't really think too much about it".
After practice on Thursday, Fleury said he didn't know yet if he was starting Friday's game.
"We've played Pittsburgh a lot of over the course of the years", captain Erik Karlsson said before the game. As of this writing, this year's playoffs have featured 46 one goal games.
"I just think we've got to be more ready to play from the drop of the puck", said Sullivan.
"It felt good to be back in there, but at the same time, I don't think I would say I needed (the work)", Murray said. It's never going to get easier from winning the very first game of a series or winning the last game. You don't really give your team a chance in the game. "We didn't. But they all seemed to go in the net".
Notes: Pittsburgh forwards Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist and Tom Kuhnhackl and defenseman Justin Schultz have been ruled out for Game 4 with injuries. Before last night's game, Fleury had turned in a.931 save percentage through the first two rounds, second only to Pekka Rinne of the goaltenders still alive in the playoffs.