The Penguins announced Matt Murray will be the starting goalie for Friday night’s crucial Game 4 against Ottawa in the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals.
"It was very difficult," Sullivan explained at the team's hotel this afternoon. "That's been a hard decision for this coaching staff all year long."
Marc-Andre Fleury has been the starter for every playoff game after Murray was injured just before Game 1 of the Columbus series. Fleury, who backed up Murray during the regular season, played extremely well and was credited with carrying the team at times.
However, after a disastrous Game 3 against the Senators, when Fleury was pulled after giving up four goals on nine shots in the first period, questions began to arise about whether the now-healthy Murray should reclaim his spot as the starter.
Down 2-1 in the series, the Penguins are looking to rebound in Ottawa before returning to home ice for Game 5 on Sunday.
Sullivan is no stranger to shaking up the goalie situation as he did it twice in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
Murray will make his first start for the Penguins since April 6 against the New Jersey Devils. The second-year goalie sat out the final two games of the regular season only to tweak his groin in warmups prior to Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Sullivan explained that Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't happy with the decision but said, "he's a professional" and will handle it as such moving forward.
The Penguins will move forward tonight without Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist, Justin Schultz and Tom Kuhnhackl, according to Sullivan.
Game time is 8 p.m. on NBC Sports.
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