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Goalie nods: Fleury looks to push Pens’ winning streak to five games

The Pittsburgh Penguins have a luxury they probably won’t be able to afford much longer, but they’ll take it while they can get it.

The Pens are without starting goalie Matt Murray, again, except unlike other teams, they have a backup goalie who could be a starter on many other teams.

Marc-Andre Fleury will make his 25th appearance of the season, as the Penguins try to push their winning streak to five games.

They’ll look to do so in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Pittsburgh hasn’t played since they beat Montreal 4-3 in OT on Dec. 31, so it’ll be interesting to see if they come out of the gate rusty or fresh.

As for the Bolts, their 4-2 loss to the Flyers yesterday afternoon was their third straight defeat.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the nod for the Bolts.

Elsewhere…

–Zane McIntyre will start for the Bruins, while the ‘Canes have confirmed that they’ll go with Cam Ward.

Michal Neuvirth made a successful return to the Flyers’ lineup yesterday afternoon, so Steve Mason is expected to get the start tonight. Sergei Bobrovsky should be between the pipes for the Blue Jackets.

–The Chicago Blackhawks will start Corey Crawford against the Predators. Nashville has yet to name a starting goaltender for this game.

–The Oilers are looking for their third straight win, and they’ll do so with backup Jonas Gustavsson in goal. The Senators will give Mike Condon a second start in two nights.

Devan Dubnyk will likely be between the pipes for the Minnesota Wild. John Gibson will look to win his fourth straight game for the Ducks. You can watch this game on NBCSN or you can get an online feed by clicking here.

Fleury replaces Murray in Penguins net (Updated)

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have made a change in net for the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes, although it’s not yet known why.

Marc-Andre Fleury replaced Matt Murray in net, despite the fact the Penguins trailed only 2-1 after two periods.

Murray had been busy, making 25 saves on 27 shots, too.

Updated: Per PHT’s Adam Gretz, Mike Sullivan said Murray suffered a lower-body injury, which occurred toward the end of the second period, but the Penguins coach didn’t have any further update tonight.

Fleury stopped all 19 shots he faced in the third period and the Penguins, on goals from Chris Kunitz and Carl Hagelin, came back for the 3-2 victory.

Great saves: Fleury’s flair, Raanta flashes the pad (Videos)

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We’re days from 2017, but there’s still time for goalies to grab the title for save of the calendar year.

At least two netminders provided some quality entries on Tuesday night.

First, you can see Antti Raanta making a big pad save for the New York Rangers against the Ottawa Senators in the video above this post’s headline. The Rangers ended up winning the game, snapping Ottawa’s winning streak in the process.

There’s also a great paddle/stick stop by Marc-Andre Fleury from tonight’s highlight-friendly game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils:

This might be best seen in GIF form via Stephanie Vail, especially since the overhead view kind of boggles the mind:

The Penguins ultimately beat the Devils 5-2 on Tuesday.

Matt Murray takes over in net after Fleury cut by skate (Updated)

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There was a scary moment for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Toronto on Saturday.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury had to leave the game early in the first period after apparently getting cut near the chin or neck by the skate of James van Riemsdyk, as the Toronto forward battled in the crease.

Matt Murray was forced into the game — at least for the moment — as Fleury went to the locker room.

Updated: Good news for the Penguins, as Fleury has returned to the game.

Goalie nods: Fleury looks to break out of recent slump for Penguins

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After back-to-back wins for Matt Murray, the Pittsburgh Penguins are going back to Marc-Andre Fleury in net on Thursday night when they host the Minnesota Wild.

This remains the most fascinating goaltending situation in the league right now.

Both goalies have backstopped the team to a Stanley Cup, both goalies are worthy of being the No. 1 guy right now, and it was always going to be a challenge for head coach Mike Sullivan to figure out how to get everybody the playing time they want (and deserve).

In the end, it’s most likely going to come down to which goalie is simply “the hot hand” and playing the better hockey at a given time, which is probably what makes this kind of an important start for Fleury.

After a strong start to the season where he was arguably the Penguins’ best player through their first few games, his play has cooled off considerably over the past couple of weeks. After stopping 73 of the first 77 shots he faced in his first two starts (a .948 save percentage), he has managed only an .895 save percentage in the eight starts that have followed, with the Penguins only winning four of those games. It would be unfair to put all of that on Fleury because the Penguins’ defense was out of sorts earlier in the year, especially while their No. 1 defenseman (Kris Letang) was sidelined with an injury.

But it also wouldn’t be unfair to say that he simply has not been quite as sharp as he was earlier in the year.

With Murray returning from injury and playing extremely well in his first three starts of the season (a .957 save percentage and three wins, including a recent shutout in San Jose) it would not be a shock to see him get a little more playing time in the short-term if Fleury’s numbers stay at their current level.

Minnesota will be going with Devan Dubnyk who has given up just seven goals in his past seven starts, and only three in his past five.

Elsewhere…

— No official word out of the Carolina-Anaheim game but you should look for Cam Ward (Hurricanes) and John Gibson (Ducks) to occupy the two nets.

— It’s going to be a matchup of two of the best goalies in the league so far this season when Tuukka Rask goes for the Boston Bruins when they host Sergei Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

James Reimer is expected to make his fifth start of the season for the Florida Panthers when they take on the defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks. The Sharks will be going with Martin Jones as he looks to build off of his 24-save shutout against Washington the other night.

— One of the more interesting games on the schedule on Thursday is in Montreal when the Canadiens host the Los Angeles Kings. Carey Price looks to improve to 9-0-0 on the season for the Canadiens and enters the game having lost just two of his past 20 starts going back to the start of the 2015-16 season. The Kings will stick with Peter Budaj as he continues to fill in for injured starter Jonathan Quick.

— The Red Wings are going to continue to ride the hot hand that is Jimmy Howard when they face the struggling Canucks. Howard enters play on Thursday with a league-best .958 save percentage in five starts this season. Vancouver will counter with Ryan Miller.

Jaroslav Halak looks to get another win after snapping a personal four-game losing streak on Monday when he goes for the New York Islanders against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay is going with backup Andrei Vasilevskiy as Ben Bishop gets a night off.

Former teammates Carter Hutton and Pekka Rinne are the goaltending matchup in Nashville when the Predators host the Blues. Nashville seems to be getting back on track recently but gets a tough test on Thursday against one of the top teams in the NHL.

Kari Lehtonen has lost each of his past five starts for the Dallas Stars, but he will get a chance to snap that streak on Thursday when he gets the call against Brian Elliott and the Calgary Flames.

— In the battle of the old Jets (the Arizona Coyotes) against the new Jets (Winnipeg 2.0) it will be Louis Domingue in net for Arizona being opposed by Connor Hellebuyck.