NHL nearing record for one-goal games this postseason

NHL nearing record for one-goal games this postseason

Mike Sullivan isn't any hurry to announce who will start in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Friday's critical Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa.

So far their experience against Canada's only remaining team has drawn mostly scowls, sighs and aggravation, including a fiery outburst from Kessel on the bench during the 1-0 Game 2 win.

"I would have said before the game it was going to be a one-goal game", Hoffman said. Senators D Marc Methot scored for the second time in eight games after going goalless for more than a year.

Murray may have come in and played well Wednesday night, but Fleury has been excellent for more than four weeks at this point. From behind the Penguins' net, Burrows passed the puck to Turris.

Pittsburgh Penguins NHL hockey goalie Marc-Andre Fleury throws a puck aside as he takes shots during practice Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Ottawa.

Later in the first period, Derick Brassard gained control of the puck to create some time and space. Methot shot the puck and on the rebound it went off the skate of the Penguins' Ian Cole and past Fleury.

Sens captain Erik Karlsson and his partner, Marc Methot, have done an effective job containing Crosby and a rotating cast of linemates, including the rising Jake Guentzel. That's especially true when it's coming on the heels of a 23-save shutout in Game 2 and when it follows a three-game run in which Fleury turned in a.977 SP, two shutouts and allowed two goals against on almost 90 shots.

Turris made it 5-0 when he scored on the 12th shot against Murray at 18:18 of the second period, grabbing the puck after Hoffman's attempt was blocked and cutting across the front to backhand home his fourth of the playoffs.

After allowing four goals in 12:52, Fleury was pulled in favor of Matt Murray.

In question now is whether Sullivan turns to Murray, who helped deliver the Pens a Cup last season and was excellent in his first full National Hockey League season, for Game 4 or goes back to Fleury. Whether related at all to the concussion he suffered in the second round against Washington, Crosby hasn't been near as potent as previous. While Murray was out, rookie Tristan Jarry served as Fleury's backup. But the Penguins should go back to Fleury in Game 4 given the way he's played all post-season. The Penguins continued to roll with Fleury before he faltered Wednesday.

"Whether we win 1-0 or 5-1, like today, I don't think that it really matters".

Hoffman opened the scoring at the 48-second mark, banking a shot in off Fleury from behind the goal line for his fifth goal of the playoffs. Fleury allowed four goals on nine shots, and Matthew Murray made 19 saves in relief. He's guided the Penguins this far, and now is the time for Fleury to prove that he still has what it takes to power Pittsburgh through another round. Pittsburgh dressed seven-defenseman tonight. And for 35 days, Fleury was rock solid, putting his name into the Conn Smythe Trophy discussion thanks to stellar numbers and a trip to the Eastern Conference final. Also, their shots against per 60 (34.85) is the worst of all playoff teams.

Game 3 result notwithstanding, no team has played more close hockey in these playoffs than the Sens. His biggest weakness has been those high-danger shots. He became the team's de facto No. 1 goalie throughout the course of the season but tweaked a lower-body injury during warmups before Game 1 of Pittsburgh's first-round series against Columbus. Fleury was also remarkable in the second round against the Capitals and, ultimately, one of the biggest difference makers in the series. The Sens have simply sucked the life out of their attack with an intensely defensive approach mirroring the one which helped them capture second spot in the Atlantic division during the regular season before topping the Bruins and Rangers in the opening two rounds. Additionally, Murray played under Sullivan with the Penguins' AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre Penguins.

What also has to be considered is the health of Murray should Sullivan choose to change things up in goal.

However, it can not be forgotten that Fleury got the Penguins to this point. Four of them found the back of the net. It was speculated whether he was going to be dealt at the trade deadline, but the Penguins opted to retain him.