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Penguins not ready to announce starting goalie for Game 4 vs. Senators

Decision between Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Murray will be revealed in morning

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

OTTAWA -- Although the Pittsburgh Penguins will wait until morning to name their starting goaltender for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), it appears they will stick with Marc-Andre Fleury.

Fleury had one net to himself during practice Thursday, while Matt Murray split time with No. 3 goaltender Tristan Jarry in the other.

"This is what we do all year long," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "We announce the goalie in the morning."

Fleury, who was pulled and was replaced by Murray in a 5-1, Game 3 loss Wednesday, each said he had not been told who will start Friday.

"Even if I had, I wouldn't tell [the media] about it," Murray said.


[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs Senators series coverage]

The Penguins trail the best-of-7 series 2-1 after Fleury gave up four goals on nine shots in the first 12:52 Wednesday.

Murray was going to start Game 1 of the first round against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 12 but sustained a lower-body injury during warmups. Fleury made 31 saves in a 3-1 win and has been one of the main reasons the Penguins have advanced this far. In 15 games, he's 9-6 with a 2.56 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and two shutouts in the past four games.

"[Fleury] has definitely played unbelievable and he's kept us in a lot of games," defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. "We wouldn't be here without him, so I've got full confidence in [him]."

The roles were reversed last season when Murray took over as the No. 1 goalie while Fleury was recovering from a concussion. Murray went 15-6 with a 2.08 GAA, a .923 save percentage and one shutout in 21 games, helping the Penguins win the Stanley Cup.

"I've said all along we have two great goalies," Sullivan said. "These guys have both helped us win games, they're terrific goalies and we're fortunate that we have these guys as part of our team."

After recovering from his injury, Murray has backed up Fleury the past four games. He allowed one goal on 20 shots in relief Wednesday, his first game since April 6 against the New Jersey Devils.

"I have no expectations," Murray said. "Either way I have to be ready. That's how I kind of look at it. So I'll be ready to go either way, whatever the coach's decision is. But I'm not really hoping one way or the other. It's out of my control, so I don't really think too much about it."

Fleury has demonstrated an ability to bounce back from a poor performance during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After allowing five goals on 26 shots in a 5-2 loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals, he responded with a 29-save shutout in a 2-0 win in Game 7.

"I've really been enjoying this playoff run," Fleury said. "It's not going to go 16 games in a row perfectly, so I put [Game 3] behind already and I'll be ready to go."

Asked if he would be disappointed if he doesn't start Friday, Fleury replied, "We'll see when that happens."

There seemed to be no doubt among Fleury's teammates that he will play well if given the chance.

"[Fleury] had a bad game, not a great game [Wednesday], but I think he's ready to play [Friday]," center Evgeni Malkin said. "He has great confidence, we believe in him, but it doesn't matter who stays in net. He needs help."

The Penguins were sloppy handling the puck in the defensive zone in the first period of Game 3, and the Senators took advantage. Fleury also was the victim of some strange bounces, with the puck caroming off the end boards and glass directly to Senators on two of the goals and Penguins defenseman Ian Cole accidentally knocking the puck into his net on one.

"There was some fluky ones," Fleury said. "I think that's why I still feel confident going into Game 4."

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