PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 13:  Matt Murray #30 of the Pittsburgh Penguins walks to the ice prior to Game One of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Murray or Fleury? Sullivan plays coy about Pens’ Game 2 goalie


One would imagine that Matt Murray‘s job is safe, at least for Game 2.

The guy behind him has a Stanley Cup ring and a $5.75 million cap hit, so any loss will probably prompt people to bring up the name Marc-Andre Fleury.

The question, naturally, is how likely will it be to see Mike Sullivan turn to Fleury instead of Murray against the Tampa Bay Lightning? Perhaps to little surprise during these tight-lipped times in the playoffs, Sullivan played coy.

Even so, Sullivan didn’t throw Murray under the bus by any means.

“As far as what went on last night, we feel as though Matt had a very strong game,” Sullivan said. “The goals that were scored were high-quality chances. Very difficult saves. So I don’t think it’s an instance where Matt had a sub-par performance.”

He then reiterated that it doesn’t mean that the Penguins won’t turn to Fleury regardless.

Still, Murray’s bailed out the Penguins more than once this postseason, and who knows how rusty “The Flower” might be? Judge for yourself if Murray put Pittsburgh in a position to compete in Game 1:

People are already calling for Fleury to replace Murray

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 02:  Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on from the bench in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 2, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

If you needed a reminder about the “What have you done for me lately?” nature of sports, check some of the takes about the Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltending situation.

By just about any measure, Matt Murray‘s been a revelation in his first playoff experiences. He’s stolen a game or two against the Washington Capitals alone.

Still, the Penguins failed in their first opportunity to close out the Caps in Game 5 with a 3-1 loss. That was enough to prompt some to wonder if the Penguins would be wise to return to “The Flower.”

Granted, there are also plenty of people who mock the idea.

Nature of the beast, perhaps?

It would be surprising if the Penguins went in that direction against the Capitals in Game 6 on Tuesday … though not impossible, apparently.

On the other hand, if the Capitals force a Game 7, all bets are off.

Fleury suits up (but won’t start) and other Caps – Pens Game 3 notes

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been out of action with concussion symptoms, participates in a practice session for the NHL hockey playoffs against the New York Rangers, Monday, April 11, 2016, at their practice facility in Cranberry, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The Brooks Orpik hit on Olli Maatta isn’t the only factor in lineup changes for Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Maybe the most interesting change starts on the Penguins’ bench … where they likely hope that tweak will stay for at least one night.

Marc-Andre Fleury is apparently healthy enough to suit up for the Penguins, although it appears as though Matt Murray will start:

That’s a clear sign that “The Flower” is healthy enough to play, as Murray would be an injury or a coach’s pull away from giving up the net to Fleury. (One would assume.)

Murray has been fantastic for the most part since taking over for Jeff Zatkoff during this postseason, yet you know how the playoffs can be; people may clamor for Fleury after a loss even if it’s not really Murray’s fault.

Circling back to that Orpik hit, the dominoes seem to fall this way:

Penguins: Derrick Pouliot replaces injured Maatta.

Capitals: Dmitry Orlov in for suspended Orpik.

PHT will make note if there are any swerves.

Report: Pens won’t make Fleury (talks too much) available to media

at Pepsi Center on December 9, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.
Getty Images

Don’t expect many updates on Marc-Andre Fleury‘s health over the next little while.

Well — don’t expect them to come from Fleury, anyway.

Per TVA Sports, Fleury has been shut down from speaking with reporters until he’s fully recovered from the concussion that’s sidelined him since Apr. 2.

A translation of Renaud Lavioe’s piece for TVA, per PHT’s Joey Alfieri:

Fleury practiced with his teammates this morning at the Verizon Center.

What I can tell you is he’s feeling better, but the Penguins have decided not to make Fleury available to the media because he says too much.

The next time Fleury talks to the media, it’s because he’ll be ready to return.

Not to be mean, but Matt Murray has given up three goals or more in back-to-back games.

Earlier this week, Fleury told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that — despite participating in on-ice workouts — he’s still dealing with concussion symptoms.

“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve been through,” he explained. “Some good days, when you think you’re back, and some bad days, when you think it’s never going to get fixed.”

The Fleury situation seems to have rankled some within the Penguins organization — like head coach Mike Sullivan, who took issue with questions about the club’s handling of Fleury.

Here’s a related series of tweets from DKonPittsburghSports’ Josh Yohe:

Game 2 of the Pens-Caps series goes tomorrow from Verizon at 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN). Matt Murray, who allowed four goals on 35 shots in the Game 1 loss, is expected to start in goal.

Fleury still experiencing concussion symptoms, ‘one of the toughest things I’ve been through’

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) blocks a shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Penguins more than survived Marc-Andre Fleury‘s absence in their opening-round playoff win against the Rangers, as Matt Murray and Jeff Zatkoff combined to beat the Blueshirts in five games.

In the second round, though — against the top-seeded Capitals — it’s safe to assume Pittsburgh wants Fleury back in the mix.

Problem is, Fleury’s not there yet. He’s still dealing with concussion symptoms.

“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve been through,” Fleury said after Monday’s optional workout, per the Post-Gazette. “Some good days, when you think you’re back, and some bad days, when you think it’s never going to get fixed.”

Fleury hasn’t played since Mar. 31, when he suffered the concussion against Nashville. He’s since missed 10 games — five regular-season, five playoff — and while the second round start date has yet to be determined, Fleury has to be considered questionable at this point.

Thankfully for the Pens, Murray has been up to the challenge thus far.

After missing the first two games of the Rangers series with an upper-body ailment, the 21-year-old ripped off three straight wins, posting a .955 save percentage and a 31-save shutout in Game 4.

“He’s got a quiet confidence about him that I think really helps him deal with the ebbs and flows,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said of Murray, per NHL.com. “For a young guy, he’s mature beyond his years.

“I also think he’s a guy that reads the play extremely well and because of that, positionally, he’s a very sound guy.”