Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan put the speculation to end this morning when he announced his team’s starting goaltender will be rookie Matt Murray when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets for game 1 of their first round playoff matchup tonight at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. ESPN Senior Writer Craig Custance announced the news from the Penguins game day skate at the team’s practice facility.
What’s interesting is that Sullivan didn’t count out the possibility of Marc Andre Fleury playing at some point. He committed only to Murray getting the start tonight and followed that up by saying, “we’ll play it from there.” Fans may remember that while Murray led the Pens to a Stanley Cup championship last season, he needed Fleury to spell him in the team’s Eastern Conference Championship against the Tampa Bay Lightning. While Fleury ultimately conceded his starting position back to Murray, it’s still possible that the Penguins will need to rely on Fleury this postseason.
The fact that Murray starts game 1 should come as no surprise, his regular season statistics (2.41 GAA and .923 Sv%) blow Fleury’s (3.02 GAA and .909 Sv%) completely out of the water. But for the Penguins, it’s nice to know that they have some veteran experience in net should they need it.