In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled 21-year-old standout Matt Murray in the third period in favour of Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury hadn’t seen game action since suffering an injury back on March 31.
While the game ended much closer than some expected it would (with Pittsburgh scoring three straight goals to make it a 4-3 game), Murray allowed four goals on 30 shots in two periods of play. Prior to that, he hadn’t allowed four goals in a single game since April 28 in Washington.
Now, with the series tied 2-2 and Tampa Bay carrying momentum back to Pittsburgh, the questions are swirling on who the Penguins will start in Game 5 at home. However, according the Pens official Twitter account, that decision won’t be made until Sunday.
Murray has given the Penguins numerous chances to win in these playoffs and has, in large part, been the reason why they’ve come away with some of the wins they have. In 13 games in the 2015-16 playoffs, he has a 9-4 record with a 2.33 goals against average and a .923 save percentage to go along with one shutout. He’s allowed just 30 goals on 390 shots.
On the other hand, Fleury was their rock in an up-and-down season. He went 35-17-6 in 58 games. He notched five shutouts while recording a respectable 2.29 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.
He also stopped all seven shots he faced to end Game 4. There will be fans that argue with the decision either way, but the team is expected to make that call on Sunday ahead of Game 5.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.