It turns out Mike Sullivan’s decision to start Matt Murray for Game 4 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference final was the right one.
Murray, who hadn’t started a game since April 6, looked comfortable making 24 saves as the Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-2 to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2, with Game 5 Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
“I thought Matt was solid,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “He made some timely saves for us when we needed it, and I thought he was solid. He has a calm demeanour about him. I thought he was tracking the puck extremely well. And certainly, he made a couple of key saves for us at key times.”
Murray was tested by the Senators Mike Hoffman and Viktor Stalberg in the opening minutes of the game and made a couple of big saves.
“He made a really big save early on with his leg 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,” said Chris Kunitz. “I think we did an all around good job tonight.”
Fleury sits despite strong play
There was much debate about who the Penguins would start for this game considering how well Marc-Andre Fleury had played the past five and a half weeks.
Fleury was thrown into action when Murray suffered a lower body injury prior to Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round of the playoffs.
The popular 32-year-old was instrumental in series wins over Columbus and Washington. In the first two games of this series Fleury allowed just two goals, but in Game 3 he gave up four goals on nine shots and opened the door to Murray, who led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship last season. He allowed just one goal on 20 shots in relief.
Fleury had made it clear he wanted to be back in goal, but wasn’t given the opportunity.
“I don’t want to make this about myself,” said Fleury following the game. “We scored some goals. That was nice. We won….