General manager Jim Rutherford fielded questions from reporters during the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft on Friday. There has been speculation that Fleury could be on the move after watching Murray take the lion's share of the playing time en route to a Stanley Cup win earlier this month, but Rutherford indicated that he'd like to start next season with both netminders. "That's the preference. That's been our preference since the end of the season. Unless someone really strange happens, that's what we're going to stick to," Rutherford said. Understandably, since the offseason is still in its infancy, the big boss wouldn't tell reporters who would be his No. 1 option in the crease next season.
Making his first start of the playoffs, Fleury allowed the game-tying goal and the eventual game-winner. "It wasn't the best I've felt in a game," said Fleury in a report by NHL.com. "Still though, I've been practicing a lot. I should've been better ... It's tough to lose." The
Fleury will return between the pipes for Game 5 against the Lightning.
Fleury performed well after subbing in for Murray in Game 4, stopping all seven of the shots he faced in the third period. It's quite possible the net will remain his for the rest of the playoffs if he continues to perform but Matt Murray still looms should he collapse at some point. The Penguins return home with the series even, looking to guard home ice to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Fleury relieved starter Matt Murray in Game 4 on Friday against Tampa Bay, turning aside all seven shots as the Pens lost 4-3.
Fleury entered the contest at the start of the third period after Murray allowed four goals on 30 shots in the first two frames. It was the veteran's first game action since way back on March 31, as a concussion followed by a recent run of hot play by Murray has kept the Flower out of the Pens' crease. Murray has been mostly great in the postseason (9-4, .923 save percentage, 2.33 GAA), and the Penguins skaters in front of him looked pretty lifeless in Game 4, so one would think that the rookie will be afforded a little bit of rope between the pipes. Then again, Fleury is a Stanley Cup winner and Olympic gold medalist with a ton of playoff experience under his belt (99 games), so it's anybody's guess as to who head coach Mike Sullivan will appoint his starter heading into Game 5 on Sunday. Stay tuned.
Indeed, Fleury hasn't shown up between the pipes since March 31, as he battled through a concussion injury only for rookie netminder Matt Murray to step into playoff action and not look back. There's no denying that Murray has been impressive in goal for the Pens as they continue their quest to win the Stanley Cup. He's fashioned a 7-3-0 record and 2.15 GAA, moving the Pens past the Rangers and Capitals to reach the conference finals. However, Murray did end up with a loss to the Lightning in Friday's Game 1 -- surrendering three goals on 20 shots -- leaving hockey fans wondering if Fleury will get an opportunity to play. After all, Fleury hoisted the Cup with the Penguins back in 2009, and has been involved in postseason play with the team for the last nine seasons. It's anyone's guess where the team goes from here.