Fleury ‘seems to stop the hard ones and maybe let in the easy ones,’ says Hartnell

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To hear Scott Hartnell explain it, Columbus doesn’t see much of a difference between facing Matt Murray or Marc-Andre Fleury.

“Potato, Po-tah-to, both Murray and Fleury are good,” Hartnell said, per the Blue Jackets website. “(The change) doesn’t cause any havoc for us. Everyone on this team has faced Fleury a bunch of times. He’s won Stanley Cups.

“He seems to stop the hard ones and maybe let in the easy ones.”

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One would assume Hartnell’s comments are (partially) in reference to the 2012 Penguins-Flyers series, in which Hartnell was playing for Philly. Fleury was ventilated for 26 goals on 131 shots over six games, finishing with an ugly .834 save percentage.

But that was then. This is now.

Fleury was thrust into the starting role just prior to Wednesday’s series opener, after Murray went down during warmup with a lower-body injury. It’s believed Murray re-aggravated a groin injury suffered late in the regular season, and it’s serious enough to keep him out of the lineup entirely — Fleury will start tonight’s Game 2, with AHL recall Tristan Jarry serving as the backup.

Fleury was excellent in Game 1, stopping 31 of 32 shots, including all 16 faced in a very busy opening period. Matt Calvert ended his shutout bid with a marker midway through the final frame.

Columbus said the goal for tonight’s tilt is to make life even busier for Fleury.

“We got to focus on getting more pucks to the net,” Brandon Dubinsky said. “We need to get more pucks to the blues and make it hard on Fleury by trying to generate some rebounds.”

As for Hartnell — well, this isn’t the first time he’s had a quip about the Penguins. Prior to the series starting, he was asked if Pittsburgh had matured over the last few years.

“Maybe Sid [Crosby],” Hartnell replied, per the Post-Gazette. “He’s not whining all the time.”

Puck drop tonight is at 7 p.m. from PPG Paints. You can catch the game on NHL Network, or stream it here.