And it was a decision the Penguins were never expected to have to make.
Murray, 22, was set to be the starter, but he sustained a lower-body injury in warm-ups before Game 1 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Columbus Blue Jackets and was sidelined for three weeks.
Fleury took over and has been one of the team’s most important players, if not the most important, through the postseason.
Fleury, 32, was instrumental as the Penguins defeated Columbus in five games and eliminated the Washington Capitals in seven.
But those performances have been all but forgotten in the wake of Fleury’s allowing four goals on nine shots in the first period of Game 3. While Fleury was certainly culpable for some of the scoring, the Penguins’ captain, Sidney Crosby, said his teammates deserved some of the responsibility.
“You don’t like putting your goalie in that situation like we did last night where we didn’t give him a lot of help,” said Crosby, who scored the Penguins’ only goal. “For many reasons, but especially that one, you just want to make sure you’re better as a group in front of him.”
Murray, who entered the game after just 12 minutes 52 seconds, allowed one goal on 20 shots and looked solid, especially given that he had not played since April 6.
The two goalies, who have always been supportive of each other, know the decision is out of their hands.
“I have no expectations; either way, I have to be ready,” Murray said. “That’s how I look at it. I’ll be ready to go either way, whatever Coach’s decision is. I’m not really hoping one way or the…