So the question that’s been on every yinzer’s mind for about the past 48 hours has finally been answered. Matt Murray will be the starter tonight in a pivotal Game 4 against the Sens. I can’t say I totally agree with Sullivan’s decision here, but at the same time, I don’t totally disagree with it, either. Without Marc Andre Fleury, the Penguins are not playing in the Eastern Conference Finals right now. That’s just a fact. Fleury has been a brick wall this postseason all except for maybe four games. He’s playing with a .924 save percentage (second best of his postseason career) and has recorded two shutouts this postseason. He’s turned haters (*cough* me) into believers this spring. The problem, though, is Matt Murray is healthy.
Matt Murray’s already won a Stanley Cup, he’s younger, and, quite frankly, he’s better than Fleury. If this were the regular season, this decision would be a no-brainer. However, it’s the Eastern Conference Finals, and Murray hasn’t played much in the past six weeks. If we rewind the clock back a year, Sullivan did almost the exact same thing in Game 5 against the Lightning when he put a cold Marc Andre Fleury in net after Murray gave up four goals in the first two periods the game before. That decision ultimately backfired as Fleury would go on to give up four goals in a losing effort. The best-case scenario here is Murray plays well, and the series heads back to Pittsburgh 2-2 without a goalie controversy. On the other hand, if all goes to hell, the Pens will find themselves down a 3-1 hole, and all you’ll ever hear for the next 48 hours is how bad of a decision Mike Sullivan made. Let’s all hope for Murray’s (and Sullivan’s) sake, the Pens can muster up more than one goal to give the kid a chance.