Health has been an issue for the Pittsburgh Penguins all series, but it looks like they will have one major player back for Game 7, though they certainly hope they will not need him.
Goalie Matt Murray, who was expected to be the Penguins’ starter this postseason before a lower-body injury forced him out of the lineup, took part in Pittsburgh’s morning skate and will dress for Game 7.
“[Murray’s] just taking the next step,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s been practicing now for a number of days and he’s ready to take the next step and join the team. He’s just continuing that process.”
Murray led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in 2016, playing in 21 playoff games with a 2.08 GAA and .923 save percentage. Heading into this postseason, he was again expected to be Pittsburgh’s No. 1 in net, but suffered the injury during warmups of Game 1 of Pittsburgh’s first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He has not dressed for any game yet this postseason.
Fleury stifled the Caps through the first four games of the series, but, like the rest of his team, struggled in the past two outings giving up nine goals on 58 shots. Still, you should not expect any curveballs from Sullivan for Game 7 in terms of the starter.
Sullivan did not specifically confirm if Murray would be the backup and called his lineup a game-time decision, but Fleury practiced in the starter’s net on Wednesday and was the first goalie off the ice which typically suggests he will start.
Murray’s presence at morning skate does not indicate he is going to retake the starting job, but it could mean Fleury’s leash got a bit shorter.
When asked if he would feel comfortable putting Murray into the game if the circumstances dictated, Sullivan said, “When players dress, it means they're healthy and they're capable of playing.”
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