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Stanley Cup Final

Matt Murray expecting to start Game 5 for Penguins

Goalie remains confident after two straight losses to Predators in Stanley Cup Final

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- Being replaced as Pittsburgh Penguins goalie for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final was not on Matt Murray's mind after the first consecutive playoff losses of his two NHL seasons.

Murray and the Penguins lost 4-1 to the Nashville Predators in Game 4 at Bridgestone Arena on Monday, tying the best-of-7 series that continues at Pittsburgh on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

"No, no, you know what? I have no expectations," Murray said. "I say that every time. It's not my decision. It's not my place to worry about it. I just prepare for every game as if I was playing."

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan dismissed the question about their Game 5 starter.

"Lineup decisions or whatever, we just finished a game about a minute and a half ago," Sullivan said.


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Sullivan was asked if he'd have confidence in Marc-Andre Fleury should he choose to start him. Fleury started every game for Pittsburgh this postseason until Murray returned from injury to start Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators.

"We have confidence in all of our guys," Sullivan said. "That's why they're on this team. We believe in every one of them."

Murray, now 7-1 after a loss in his Stanley Cup Playoff career, allowed three goals on 25 shots in Game 4 and second-guessed himself only slightly on one of Nashville's goals, a Viktor Arvidsson breakaway shot that beat him glove side in the second period to give the Predators a 3-1 lead with 6:52 left.

"On the breakaway, I thought I could have been a little more aggressive on it," Murray said. "It's probably the difference right there. If I make a save on [Arvidsson], maybe it's a different game.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Arvidsson finishes Fisher's setup

"It's a breakaway, so you just try to play it. You never want to sit on one thing and give him something else. I thought I played it pretty well but could have been a little more aggressive. For the most part, I thought I played pretty well."

Two tight calls went against Murray and the Penguins. In the first period, Sullivan used his coach's challenge on Calle Jarnkrok's goal at 14:51 that put the Predators ahead 1-0. The Penguins thought Craig Smith interfered with Murray with a slash and by bumping into the goalie's head, but the goal was ruled legal.

In the second period, play was stopped to give the Predators a goal when Frederick Gaudreau's wraparound was seen on video to cross the goal line before Murray pushed the puck away. That made it 2-1 3:45 into the period.

"I made a good play on it and thought I had it," Murray said. "It just crossed the goal line."

Murray disagreed with the ruling on Jarnkrok's goal.

"Both (the slash and the contact)," Murray said. "[Contact] hasn't been [called], so that would be my assumption going forward. 

"At the end of the day … on that goal I thought it impeded my ability to stop the puck, but other than that, for the most part it's after the whistle. Things (after the whistle) don't really matter, but it does impede your ability to stop the puck. It can be a little bit frustrating."

Sullivan declined to debate the call.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Sullivan on Penguins dropping Game 4

"It is what it is," he said. "It's playoff hockey. I'm not going to focus on what the referees call or they don't call. We have to be prepared for anything out there."

Murray said he sees more positives for the Penguins than earlier in the series, which they led 2-0 before losing Game 3 5-1 here.

"I thought tonight was probably one of our best games of the series and we just didn't get the result," he said. "I think we've been doing a lot of good things. We have a game plan and I think we've executed it pretty well here. We definitely have another level to get to, but as a team, we're doing a lot of good things.

"We haven't got the results these last two, but it doesn't change our game plan. We're just going to stick to it even more."

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