Friday, May 19, 2017

Life Of A Goalie

There's a reason moms don't want their babies to be goalies.  Not only do they have to wear all that equipment, but when things go wrong, they get the blame, even if its not really their fault.  They are pretty much the only star on the team that can be replaced the next game.
There were plenty of Penguins who didn't have a great night, but only Marc-Andre Fluery will be watching from the bench, replaced by...well his replacement, Matt Murray, who took over as the team's number one goalie this season.  Yes, that comes with the position, but it's still not exactly fair.

Fleury has been good, not great, and he's had a couple of bad games.  But, without him, the Penguins might not even be in the conference final in the first place.  As much as the Washington Capitals didn't show up in game 7 last round, Fleury still needed to be sharp in the 2-0 win.

While Fleury gave up 4 goals on just 9 shots in the first 13 minutes of game 3, he didn't exactly have a lot of help.  A couple of those goals were fluky and hard to completely fault Fleury.  Based on that, he should get another shot, but he won't be.  It will be Murray in net for game 4.

It's not that shocking of a move for a couple of reasons.  One, Murray is the present and the future for the Penguins after leading the team to the Stanley Cup last year.  He got hurt in the warm up before the very first playoff game and as a result, Fleury was given the opportunity to be the starter again.  It must have been a great feeling for the French-Canadian to be once again playing every game.

Second, Penguins' head coach, Mike Sullivan, did this last year.  He switched goalies in the middle of the conference final against Tampa Bay when the series was tied up at two. Sullivan went back to the veteran Fleury for game 5, which they lost, before going back to Murray, with the younger goalie coming through in the next game.  It's possible Sullivan could pull the same move.

By going with Murray, Sullivan made it clear it wasn't about Fleury, but looking for something that could give his team a jolt of life.  They have scored just two goals in three games.
Some of that is on the tight defensive play of the Senators, but some of that is also on the Penguins themselves failing to generate enough offence.  Changing the goaltender isn't exactly going to change that.

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