Fleury Healthy, But Penguins Likely to Stick With Murray
Marc-Andre Fleury may be healthy again, but don’t expect 2003’s first overall pick to be back between the pipes for game four of Pittsburgh’s Eastern Conference semifinal series with Washington on Wednesday.
Right now, the Penguins crease belongs to Matt Murray.
The 21-year-old made 47 saves to secure a 3-2 victory at the Consol Energy Center on Monday night, giving Pittsburgh the advantage in this mouth watering match up between the two Metropolitan Division rivals.
Coach Sullivan on Fleury: "Marc's status is day-to-day. He is making significant progress. We are a better team when he is part of it."
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 2, 2016
In that game, Fleury made his first appearance on the bench since incurring a concussion March 31 in a game against the Nashville Predators. While it is a big step for a player recovering from a concussion to sit in an arena for a full game, it’s not necessarily proof that the Penguins starter is ready to–well, start. It has, after all, been more than a month since he played and with Murray’s stellar performances, there’s less pressure for the team to rush Fleury back.
Of course, if Murray should stumble, it’s good to have a goalie of Fleury’s caliber sitting backup. And as Coach Sullivan noted, Fleury is a major part of the Penguins’ success this season. In 58 games, Fleury posted a .933 at 5v5 and a .921 overall, his best numbers since 2007-08.
This dilemma is just a taste of what is to come should Murray continue to develop at this torrid pace. Eventually, the Penguins will have to make the decision about what to do with the youngster, whose contract is up at the end of next season. At some point fairly soon, Murray’s going to surpass the backup position he’ll likely be in next year and other teams are going to come calling. A young goalie of Murray’s caliber with RFA years remaining could fetch a nice haul if the Penguins are so inclined.
That, however, is in the future. The immediate question is whether to continue to rely on Murray in this playoff series or to turn to the veteran Fleury, the guy who got them to this point in the first place.
What do you think, readers? Do you go with Murray or Fleury on Wednesday’s Game 4?