No surprises: Pens will start Murray in Game 5


PITTSBURGH — The Nashville Predators stuck with Pekka Rinne after a pair of rough games.

Now, the Penguins will do the same with Matt Murray.

Despite allowing eight goals on 58 shots in Games 3 and 4 — an .862 save percentage — Murray will be back in net when the Penguins host the Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“I know that Matt’s excited to play tonight,” head coach Mike Sullivan said following Thursday’s morning skate. “He’s certainly had success here at home, and we’re hoping we have our best game in front of him.”

Questions about the security of Murray’s starting gig were asked after Monday’s loss at Bridgestone, though the rookie netminder said he wasn’t worried about it.

“I have no expectations,” he said. “I say that every single time. It’s not my decision. It’s not my place to worry about it. I just prepare every game as if I was playing.”

Murray certainly couldn’t be faulted for the losses in Nashville, and was hung out to dry on a few occasions. Not helping his cause was the brilliant play of Pekka Rinne, who wasn’t just making saves — he was making the saves he wasn’t supposed to make.

That included this sequence of stops on Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. Rinne described the latter as a “soccer” save.

The Penguins are hoping Murray can rebound from a tough pair of outings, much like Rinne did after Games 1 and 2. The Nashville netminder left Pittsburgh sporing an ugly .778 save percentage, then went out and stopped 50 of his next 52 shots faced.

In other lineup news, Sullivan said injured center Nick Bonino is a gametime decision. Bonino arrived in Nashville on crutches and wearing a walking boot following a blocked shot in Game 2. He missed Games 3 and 4 with a left foot injury, though he did practice ahead of Game 4.