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Insider Only Game 3 Pre-Game Buzz: Time to turn the series over to Matt Murray the rest of the way

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Game 3 Pre-Game Buzz

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This much is certain regarding the Penguins goaltending situation for Game 3:

1. Marc Andre Fleury is officially out.

2. Jeff Zatkoff or Matt Murray will start.

In the morning skate, Jeff Zatkoff was the first goaltender off, while Matt Murray defended the net the Penguins will defend twice in Game 3.

Things are reaching the point with Fleury where this will not be his series. He went from last week of being under consideration to play in Game 1, where Jeff Zatkoff didn’t find out for sure that he would start Game 1 until the night before, to now a week later of not being at the stage where there was any thought of him playing in Game 3.

Indications are even before the Penguins flew to New York Monday afternoon, Fleury had been internally ruled out.

If he’s not medically ready to play in Game 3, how is he really going to be ready 48 hours from now for Game 4?

If Matt Murray is fully cleared to play as all indications are he is, especially with Mike Sullivan calling him an “option” to start tonight, it’s time for the Penguins to turn the series over to him, win or lose, commit to sticking with Murray for the first round and not have this back and forth with the team on whether Marc Andre Fleury will be able to play or not.

As solid as Zatkoff has been for the Penguins through two games, it’s only going to be a matter time before he turns back into Jeff Zatkoff.

— Aside from the goaltending situation, the lineup decision many will be watching tonight is with Olli Maatta. “I think he could have made a few better decisions as far as how to play pucks and positioning,” Sullivan said Monday of Maatta’s play in Game 2. Overall, he’s trying to come off an injury. He hasn’t played a lot of hockey in the last month or so. So that’s the position that he’s been in. Not always easy. That’s a tough challenge for players when they come back off an injury and go right into a playoff environment when the pace is high and the intensity’s high and the opponent is really good.”

Evgeni Malkin will play on a line with Conor Sheary and Eric Fehr tonight. It’s a line the coaching staff was initially leaning towards last week before giving Rust a shot. Fehr is an interesting situation. Those on the outside feel the Penguins have badly mis-used him this season as he made his mark last season in Washington as a third line two-way/shutdown center.

“He’s a center, not a winger,” an Eastern Conference Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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