First, Sully set the example.
Murray, who suffered a lower-body injury during warm-ups before the opening game of their opening round National Hockey League playoff series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, finally returning to the Penguins line-up as a back-up to Marc-Andre Fleury at the end of their second-round series against the Washington Capitals. It sent a message of urgency to the Penguins and Ottawa Senators. They're extremely hard decisions.
Sidney Crosby collected his first multi-point game since sustaining a concussion on May 1 and Evgeni Malkin saved his best night of the series for Game 4 as the Penguins matched their combined goal total from each of the first three games to down the Senators, 3-2, and even this best-of-seven battle at two games a piece.
"Emotion is the fabric of our game", Sullivan said. "I put that one behind already and I'll be ready to go". Tough team to play against.
You can call it a panic move, as I did, and wouldn't be wrong. But I believe this was a decision made not in haste but rather a year ago.
They let them off the mat on Friday night, making this Eastern Conference final a toss-up.
Boucher's group was just above average with 40 games decided by a goal during the regular season.
"I think, when it's not going in for you, you've just got to keep it simple and make sure you keep getting pucks to the net, keep getting guys there, and make sure we're competing in and around the net".More news: Larson takes pole for All-Star race after Busch blunder
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Outshot 14-9 by Pittsburgh, Maatta beat Anderson on the stick side with only 46 seconds left with the Penguins breaking in on an odd-man rush. "They didn't skate with the team, they're probably not probable [for Game 4]". This wasn't about loyalty.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, 49, knew his team was doomed after their bad start.
"I think everyone knows that we didn't give him a lot of help", Crosby said Thursday. Head coach Mike Sullivan said a decision would be announced ahead of game-time on Friday morning. "And that's the criteria".
The Senators looked actually lost at times on Friday.
Again, it cannot be overstated that not only did the Penguins win with just five defensemen, missing three of their best, but they also did it with Fleury in net, spelling Matt Murray since he got injured during warmups of the first playoff game this season at a Conn Smythe-level caliber this postseason.
And then Sullivan chose Murray, and it felt like something was amiss.
That was no small shakeup, putting a winger with the willingness to chase pucks into corners on every line. His shutout was the only reason the Pens have taken a game off of the Senators, and he stole wins against Washington in a series that proved to have very little room for error. But like I said before, all I can really do is kind of jump in and try not to think about it. "Our team has to do a better job tonight of having that start, but also go out there and play with that urgency we need so that we don't fall down 3-1". "We played a solid defensive game, kept them on the outside".
Fleury allowed two goals or fewer in six of Pittsburgh's first nine playoff games, with the expected 7-2 record.