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Stanley Cup Final

Matt Murray to start for Penguins vs. Predators in Game 5

Pittsburgh sticking with goaltender; best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final tied 2-2

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray will start Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports). 

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan confirmed Murray would start in his press conference following Pittsburgh's optional morning skate.

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2.

"I know that Matt's excited to play tonight," Sullivan said.

In addition, a decision on the availability of Penguins center Nick Bonino will be made at game time, Sullivan said. 

Bonino has missed the past two games with a left foot injury he sustained blocking a shot in Game 2. He didn't practice Wednesday or participate in the morning skate Thursday. Bonino tried to skate in warmups prior to Game 4 on Monday, but left the ice after a few minutes.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Murray stones Neal twice with his pad

There was some speculation Sullivan was contemplating starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 5 after Murray allowed eight goals on 58 shots in losing Games 3 and 4 at Bridgestone Arena.

It was the first time Murray lost back-to-back games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was previously 7-0 after a loss dating back to last season.

Sullivan would not name a starting goalie when asked to do so in the immediate aftermath of Game 4. He also would not directly name Murray the starter when asked during a media conference call Tuesday. 

Sullivan, however, gave an indication which way he was leaning when he said he didn't think the Penguins lost either game in Nashville because of goaltending.

Murray will be making his ninth consecutive start since replacing Fleury in the first period of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators. He is 5-3 with a 2.08 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

The Penguins have won five consecutive home games and are 9-3 at home in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Including the regular season, Murray is 21-3-2 with a .928 save percentage and 2.32 GAA at PPG Paints Arena this season.

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