March 21, 2018

Sidney Crosby, Penguins beat Senators 3-2 to tie series

20 May 2017, 02:04 | Darnell Patrick

"We'll see how it goes".

For the past 35 days, Marc-Andre Fleury has been one of the biggest stories of the post-season.

Sidney Crosby put his first stamp on the Eastern Conference final.

Murray saw his first playoff action Wednesday night in Game 3, as Sullivan benched Fleury after Ottawa's hot start. While defense has been an issue at times Evgeni Malkin knows they to start putting the puck in the net if they hope to move on. The first strike came 48 seconds into the contest from Mike Hoffman. Perry has now scored 2 of his 4 playoff goals in OT.

Murray looked solid allowing one goal on 20 shots. It wasn't enough, however. Ottawa is playing physical, and that has really gotten the Penguins off their game.

Elsewhere, led by Hart Trophy finalist Connor McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers (-125) are a slim favorite at home against the Anaheim Ducks (+105) with a 5.5-goal total for their Game 4 matchup on Wednesday.

Fleury gave way to Tomas Vokoun in 2013, and got one lousy start in the sweep by Boston in the conference final.

"It was very hard", Sullivan explained at the team's hotel this afternoon. It's not one he's entirely unfamiliar with, however.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be turning to Matt Murray between the pipes on Friday evening against the Ottawa Senators so it appears. Fleury allowed four goals on nine shots, and Matthew Murray made 19 saves in relief. Prior to that goal in Game 3, Crosby went seven games without a goal.

The Penguins took their second too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty of the game with 34 seconds left, but the Senators couldn't capitalize with the goalie pulled. This could have been his chance at post-season redemption, but now it might be gone. To say he's in the conversation for the Conn Smythe would be to undersell it. With a goal and an assist, Penguins C Sidney Crosby now has 18 points (10 goals) in 12 career playoff games at Canadian Tire Centre. The nature of the injury Murray suffered has never been disclosed and there's no telling if he's entirely healed or choosing instead to battle through whatever is or was ailing him.

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But above all else is the fact Sullivan's decision could end up impacting the series in a big way.

Through three games in this series, the Penguins have scored just three goals. That means sticking with Fleury.

Starting for the first time in more than six weeks, Murray looked dialled in right away.

Boucher's group was just above average with 40 games decided by a goal during the regular season.

Hands down, Marc-Andre Fleury had his worst game of these playoffs. They have forced the Pittsburgh Penguins into less-than-ideal offensive options throughout the entire series. Murray allowed just one goal on 20 shots and Sullivan decided to make the switch with Pittsburgh trailing Ottawa 2-1 in the best-of-seven affair.

Then in Game 5, the Senators found themselves in a similar position, down a goal in the final minutes.

The Penguins can not afford another game like the one they played Wednesday night.

Anderson had another stellar game in net, stopping 25 of 26 Penguins shots.

Well, in Game 5 versus the Lightning a year ago, Fleury was spotty, and the Penguins lost in overtime. He fired a game-high five shots and set up Olli Maatta on a lovely three-on-two rush for the game's opening goal, which beat Craig Anderson short side in part because the Sens goalie was cheating left, expecting Maatta to give the puck back to the Rocket Richard victor.

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