In his first start since April 6, Murray rewarded Sullivan by stopping 24 of 26 shots in the Penguins' 3-2 Game 4 victory over the Senators on Friday night at Canadian Tire Centre to even the best-of-seven series.
"I've said all along, we have two great goalies", Sullivan said Thursday.
The NHL is headed for a record-breaking number of one-goal games this spring with 46 heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference final on Thursday night, including 25 in overtime.
Sullivan declined to elaborate on his decision shortly after announcing it hours before game-time, but Murray kept justifying it with his play in the first half of an opening period that saw the Sens - wearing small Canadian flags on their helmets - mostly in control. Fleury gave up 4 goals in the 1st period of Wednesday's loss before being pulled, and you had to know that despite how well he's played, the first time he had one of those MAF games, he was done now that Murray's recovered from the injury he suffered in the warmups for the first game of the playoffs. The 22-year-old posted a save percentage of.923 and a goals-against-average of 2.41 with four shutouts. The Penguins have scored just one goal in each of their last five games versus Ottawa dating to the regular season.
"I don't want to make this about myself", said Fleury following the game.
Goaltending hasn't really been the problem for Pittsburgh of late, Game 3 aside.
Ottawa played with fire from start to finish in game 3. Fleury isn't as awful as his.909 regular season save percentage would indicate, but nor is he as good as the.924 mark he's put up in the playoffs.
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Following a disastrous performance in Game 3, Marc-Andre Fleury may have lost his spot between the pipes for the Penguins this postseason. He wouldn't share what he relayed to the longtime Pittsburgh netminder.
"They're terrific goalies, and we're fortunate that we have these guys as part of our team", Sullivan said.
"He made a really big save early on with his leg save when the guy kind of went around him after a rebound and I think right after that our team went into the offensive side and really played at the puck and gave us that momentum", teammate Chris Kunitz said. "They both want to be in net; we don't always expect them to agree with our decisions". "Both these guys have helped this team win all year long". The Penguins risked angering the players in that room who love and believe in Fleury, and Fleury himself. It's tough. They're a good team.
Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz and forwards Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist and Tom Kuhnhackl seem to be doubtful to play in Game 4 and have been given the day to day status. Add the fact the home team has won eight of the last 10 games between the Penguins and Senators, and I'm taking my chances with the plus money. According to Elias Sports, the victor of Game 3 when a series is tied 1-1 is 205-99, including a 3-2 record this year.
Fans were hoping the Sens would keep it together and get back on their feet in the second period.
"It's hard to say it's working against you. I don't feel too far off there", Borowiecki said of his conditioning level. "You look at Pittsburgh - they've got all-stars, but all the games are just (close)".
Sullivan: "Obviously you'd like to get some contributions throughout your lineup".
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