(Toronto, Quarantine) — Matt Murray is the Pittsburgh Penguins starting goalie. Emotions and hopes for the fair-haired backup aside, there are significant reasons for Murray’s station, which go beyond two Stanley Cup rings and center on how Murray has championships. In that answer lies the Penguins reasoning for their Game 1 starter next week, but the secondary questions become more interesting by the day.
Matt Murray will start, but where is the line beyond which Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan will turn to Tristan Jarry?
Murray has earned his keep as the Penguins goalie. While fans cringe and coaches kick Murray for what has become an annual rough patch of injuries and ineffectiveness in Novembers and Decembers, the tribulations assuaged when Murray again becomes a big-game goalie in the second half of the season.
And Murray’s consistent big-game performances are the reason the Penguins coaches, specifically head coach Mike Sullivan sleep well on the decision to insert (and assert) Murray as the starter.
But two wrinkles could make that decision more complex than it’s been since 2017 when Murray and Fleury flip-flopped in the Penguins crease. In 2017, Murray suffered a lower-body injury during warmups before Game 1 of Round One, and Fleury proceeded to steal the show into the Eastern Conference Final.