Pittsburgh Penguins even Eastern Conference final with victory in Game 4

Ruben Hill
May 27, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan announced Friday that Matt Murray would draw the start in goal over Marc-Andre Fleury for Game 4 of the team's Eastern Conference Final clash with the Ottawa Senators, who own a 2-1 series lead after a 5-1 win in Game 3.

“Its not easy to score, but I hope, like, we forget all three games and turn page, and tomorrow we like start to play our game, ” Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin said.

The Senators made a game of it, reducing Pittsburgh's lead to just one goal late in the third period.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby also added a goal and an assist in the victory, hours before which Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan talked about the need for more scoring throughout the lineup.

Tom Pyatt made it a one-goal game when he deflected an Erik Karlsson shot between Murray's legs at 14:59 of the third, but despite a furious push that included Kyle Turris hitting the outside of the post with 16 seconds left, they could not tie it.

Matt Murray replaced Marc-Andre Fleury as the Penguins' starting goalie Friday night.

"I think just throughout the league it's so tight now", Senators winger Clarke MacArthur told The Canadian Press.

"It was very hard", Sullivan explained at the team's hotel this afternoon. The Senators faithful weren't happy with their team's effort and had a right to be upset because this wasn't the performance anybody expected with so much on the line. Crosby's revenge was quick: stationed to the side of the Ottawa net, he poked the puck in behind Anderson for his sixth playoff goal. "We have a group where we're really confident in our team and our ability to play the right way".

The tide has turned and the momentum has taken a seismic shift in the direction of the Ottawa Senators.

The Senators and Penguins will face-off in Game 5 of the series Sunday at 3 p.m.at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Fleury had a miserable Game 3, giving up four goals on nine shots and generally looking lost for the first time all playoffs. Though Pittsburgh says otherwise, risky scoring chances have been limited for just about everyone, including Rocket Richard trophy victor Sidney Crosby. "It wasn't like we gave up a lot of scoring chances, we didn't, but they all seemed to go in the net".

Ottawa had mostly neutralized the high-powered Pens in the first three games of the series, holding them to just three goals - a mark they equalled in less than 32 minutes of Game 4.

I believe there are Penguins players that have a sort of loyalty to The Flower.

Murray gave up one goal on 20 shots in relief in Game 3 while seeing his first postseason action since guiding Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup in 2016. "It's time for us to take two games in a row here".

“These guys have been here before, ” Sullivan said Saturday morning.

He wouldn't elaborate on what went into the decision, nor would he reveal what was said during his conversation with Fleury.

"They're still day-to-day", Sullivan said. "He made some timely saves for us when we needed it, and I thought he was solid. I think seeing the way we played, hopefully that's something we can build off of". There is no mercy in the playoffs, and Fleury probably knows that better than most. That title on Friday belonged to both Olli Maatta and Brian Dumoulin, who each scored their first goals, respectively, of these playoffs.

Johansen scored 61 regular-season points to match Arvidsson for the team lead.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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