"I've said all along, we have two great goalies", Sullivan said Thursday. "He made some timely saves for us when we needed it, and I thought he was solid". And that's why we very well may have seen Fleury in a Pittsburgh uniform for the very last time.
Again, it cannot be overstated that not only did the Penguins win with just five defensemen, missing three of their best, but they also did it with Fleury in net, spelling Matt Murray since he got injured during warmups of the first playoff game this season at a Conn Smythe-level caliber this postseason. Neither the Senators nor anyone even halfway tuned into hockey will forget that Murray was spectacular on the way to hoisting Lord Stanley last June - he went 15-6 with a sterling 2.08 GAA and.923 save percentage after downing the Rangers, Capitals, Lightning and Sharks in succession.
During the 2016-2017 regular season, Murray served as the Penguins' starting goaltender en route to making 49 appearances.
"Either way I have to be ready", said Murray, who only recently returned to back up Fleury. The Penguins have scored just one goal in each of their last five games versus Ottawa dating to the regular season.
Fleury had been excelling as the starter, pitching shutouts in Game 2 against the Senators and Game 7 of a second-round series against Washington. In the 2015-2016 postseason alone, thanks in part to an injury to 32-year-old Fleury, Murray registered a 2.08 goals against average for the eventual champion Penguins. His steady netminding was enough to give Pittsburgh fans hope after Wednesday's blow out.
Matt Murray gets Game 4 start vs. Senators over Marc-Andre Fleury
We've done a really good job of that here since we've been playing together. "I think we did an all around good job tonight". The best-of-seven series is now tied up at two. "So that was to be expected", said Senators coach Guy Boucher.
"We know what's at stake", Ottawa defenceman Marc Methot said before the game. If they "were just alive" as head coach Guy Boucher says they were in Game 3, the Sens simply weren't crisp in Game 4 - from Anderson through the power play. And both of these guys have helped this team win all year long. "And both of these guys have helped this team win all year long".
No wonder after Thursday's Penguins practice at the University of Ottawa rink Crosby was drilled with question after question about what his team was going to do about its lack of scoring. "It's not going to go 16 games in a row perfectly".
While Murray provided a different look in goal, the Penguins forwards were finally able to solve Senators goalie Craig Anderson, against whom they have just three goals in three games.
Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz (4) slams into the boards as the Senators' Mike Hoffman (68) skates past behind the Penguins goal during the first period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. Burrows was pulled out in Wednesday's game due to a lower-body injury and did not rejoin the game. Brian Dumoulin and Olli Maatta also found the back of the net for the defending champs, who came alive after a stunted start to the series.
"I think all season and then in the playoffs, we've been the unsuspecting team that finds a way to hang around", Ryan added. "Certainly when you do get production throughout your lineup as opposed to just a handful it makes your team that much more hard to play against". "Obviously you can't really replicate it off the ice".