OTTAWA -- Trailing in a playoff series for the first time this postseason, the reigning champion Pittsburgh Penguins are making a goalie change. On Friday, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan announced that Matt Murray would start Friday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals in place of Marc-Andre Fleury.
The game will be Murray's first start of this postseason, after getting injured during warm-ups before the first game of the playoffs against the Blue Jackets. Last spring, he helped lead the Penguins to a Stanley Cup with a 15-6 record, posting a .923 save percentage.
"That's been a hard decision for this coaching staff all year long," Sullivan said of choosing between Fleury and Murray. "It's a good, difficult decision to have, because we have two guys that are as capable as they are. Both these guys have helped this team win all year long."
Fleury is one of the biggest reasons the Penguins have advanced as far as they have this spring while banged up throughout the lineup. He has a 9-6 record with a .924 save percentage in the postseason. He struggled in Game 3, a 5-1 loss, allowing four goals on nine shots against the Senators.
Sullivan said Fleury handled the demotion like a professional. Neither goalie was available to the media on the morning of Game 4, as is customary for Penguins goalies on gameday.
"These guys are both competitors," Sullivan said. "They both want to be in net; we don't always expect them to agree with our decisions."