It looks like Marc-Andre Fleury played himself out of the Pittsburgh Penguins net.
Fleury got pulled from Game 3 when the Ottawa Senators scored four goals in the first period. Matt Murray replaced him, and there was some question about who would get the nod in Game 4 on Friday evening. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan wouldn’t commit to a choice in postgame or after practice on Thursday, but his actions all but confirmed it at Friday’s morning skate.
Matt Murray first out this morning. Had his own net at practice. He will face the @senators tonight. Marc-André Fleury doing extra.— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) May 19, 2017
The first goalie off the ice at the end of gameday practice traditionally indicates who starts in net that night. It’s a hockey thing. Hockey loves traditions.
It’ll be the first postseason start for Murray this season, who injured himself in warm-ups for Game 1 of the first round and hadn’t played since. Murray rose to stardom last postseason when, as a rookie, he led the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup victory since 2009.
The 22-year-old goalie went 15-6-0 last postseason with a .923 save percentage. In 47 games this season, Murray was 32-10-4 with a .923 SV%.
Fleury had performed admirably through two rounds, arguably carrying the injury-plagued Penguins past the Washington Capitals in the conference semifinals. He had a shutout in Game 2 of this series and a sparkling .924 SV% throughout the postseason.
But the 32-year-old’s dismal Game 3, leaving Pittsburgh in a 2-1 series hole, might’ve been his last as a Penguin. Fleury is a strong contender to be traded this offseason.