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Insider Only Game 5: Lineup Talk, Stubbornness & Ice time for stars/depth players

Game 5 Lead Up

Matt Murray outplayed Pekka Rinne in Games 1 and 2.

Pekka Rinne outplayed Matt Murray in games 3 and 4.

The Stanley Cup Final is now a best-of-3.

Did the Penguins actually have a goalie controversy (50-50 decision on who would start) heading into tonight’s Game 5 or was it strictly driven by the pro Marc Andre Fleury media crowd?

More likely the latter.

Indications are Penguin coaches never really wavered making a goaltending change and as expected Mike Sullivan confirmed this morning that Matt Murray will start Game 5.

When you’re at this point, you are almost always going to stick with your No. 1, even with a quality goaltender like Marc Andre Fleury behind him.

“I know our guys understand the importance of the short-term focus and staying in the moment,” said Sullivan. “I think it’s arguably the most important for the goaltending position and because of it the importance of that position. So that’s where our focus needs to be. I know Matt’s excited to play tonight and he’s certainly had success at home and we hope we have our best game in front of him.”

The Penguins are involved in a 2-2 series in the Stanley Cup Final and some of the fan base right now makes it feel like the Penguins are down 0-3 and facing elimination tonight.

— The Penguins in Game 4 believe they attacked the middle of the ice better than they have all series. Nashville’s d-men play wide and Pittsburgh was able to find those middle seams at a higher rate.

Whether it’s sustainable remains to be seen because of how badly the Pittsburgh’s blueline struggles in moving the puck right now against the Predators aggressive forecheck.

For Pittsburgh the blueprint is pretty clear to winning two of three.

Bury their grade-A chances and get good to great goaltending.

There’s no evidence the Penguins are going to be able to come out and fire 35+ shots in a game against this Predators defense.

As great as Pekka Rinne was in Game 4, Pittsburgh was still limited to 24 shots and had just 2 high danger chances in the third period when trailing by two goals.

When they get a surge tonight, they have to convert.

Lineup Decisions

Nick Bonino has been kept off the ice the last couple days and is officially a game-time decision. Patric Hornqvist will play.

Josh Archibald is expected to be a healthy scratch regardless of whether Bonino plays or not.

The pressing lineup decision for Game 5 was going to be more about the defense than goaltending.

Are the coaches so stubborn they won’t make a change?

Ron Hainsey is failing the eye test and everything else after that. Some are saying he’s entering Rob Scuderi territory in how poor he is moving the puck and that’s not an outrageous assertion.

11 Forwards/7D?

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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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