The Penguins Starting Goalie Is In Question, So Let's See If Mike Sullivan Learned Anything From Last Year...
TheSportingNews- The Penguins were embarrassed 5-1 by the Senators in Game 3 of the NHL's Eastern Conference finals Wednesday, and now Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is under fire after a rough outing.
Fleury allowed four goals on the Senators' first nine shots in the first period before he was pulled in favor of Matt Murray. Fleury's struggles could cause the Penguins to start Murray in Game 4 on Friday.
After the game, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he hadn't thought about who will get the start.
“I haven’t even given any consideration to that at this point,” he told reporters. “We give up four goals as quickly as we did, sometimes when you make a change, it’s for more than one reason. … It’s a little bit of a wake-up call, I guess, for the whole group.”
Talk about deja vu. It's damn near been one year - to the day - that Mike Sullivan overreacted to a bad outing from his team that made his hot goaltender look even worse on a rough night. The goalies have flipped, but the situation is almost eerily similar. Last season it was Matt Murray who didn't expect to be counted on come playoff time, and now it's the guy whose starting role he officially assumed this year. Much like another familiar masked man was last postseason, Marc-Andre Fleury has been goddamn revelation for the Penguins this postseason. Replacing him between the pipes now would create ambiguity that could dramatically effect the psyche of a guy who is in the midst of rewriting the narrative on his playoff reputation.
Is putting Matt Murray in net for a game could push you to the brink of elimination a death sentence? Probably not. The kid is a stud. He played well in relief and he could very well backstop his team to a win in Game 4. However - whether or does he not - the same question would still persist during the time of year when you least want to answer to uncertainty.
Mike Sullivan went with Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and - due to no fault of the player he inserted in the lineup - his team ended up with their backs against the wall while in the midst of a goaltender controversy. Apparently the presence of otherworldly talent transcends self inflicted distractions because they rattled off wins in back-to-back elimination games en route to an eventual Stanley Cup Championship, but that's not the point. The point is that the only real mistake is one in which you don't learn anything. Changing his last line of defense to spark his team didn't work last year, and - with how inspiring Marc-Andre Fleury's performance was against Washington - there's no reason to think it would this year. Four goals against on nine shots is an indictment of his entire team as much as it was him, so those numbers shouldn't cloud the fact that 'The Flower' was coming off a shutout in which he bloomed.