Murray or Fleury?


Jarrett Bailey, Sports Writer

When Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury went down with his second concussion of the 2015-16 season at the end of March, it left the Penguins with a few questions at goaltender. Original backup Jeff Zatkoff wasn’t consistent; that left Matt Murray to get the nod. Murray had spent the majority of the season as the starter for the penguins AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre Scranton en route to being voted the AHL Goaltender of the Year. With Fleury out, Murray came back in the playoffs after sustaining an injury of his own on the final day of the regular season in Philadelphia and has been phenomenal, going 5-1 with a 1.79 GAA (as of May 4). Fleury was cleared to play Monday, but, still, the Penguins went with Murray. It was a decision that paid off as the 21 year old made an NHL playoff record for saves in a regulation playoff game with 47 en route to a 2-1 Penguins victory, a game that gave the Pens a 2-1 series lead. How does Fleury feel about the situation? When asked, the Penguins first pick in the 2003 draft was nothing but supportive. “Matty’s given us a chance”, Fleury said. “I haven’t played in a month now, and what’s important is us winning.” That is exactly what the Penguins have been doing, even when the odds are stacked against them. They lost two of their top defensemen in as many games. Olli Maatta was injured in Game 2 after a hit to the head area from Brooks Orpik, who was subsequently suspended for 3 games. They then lost Kris Letang to a one game suspension of his own after a hit in which he left his feet. But even without major contribuors in the lineup, the Penguins have found a way to win, and as long as that is happening, why change anything?

Matty’s given us a chance. He’s been in there. I’ll stay ready, I’ll encourage him. It’s not a personal game, it’s a team game. I’ll try my best to contribute whatever I’m doing just to help us win.””

— Marc-Andre Fleury (Interview with ESPN)