The Penguins are going with experience with their starting goaltender decision. Coach Mike Sullivan said he wouldn’t name a starter until game day, and he stuck to his guns (as he usually does with public comments on lineups coming at the last minute possible) when he named Matt Murray his starting goalie for Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens.
“Matt has shown an ability to be at his best when the stakes are high,” Sullivan said in a video conference with the media. “And that should provide some confidence going into a playoff environment like this. We’ll take each game as it comes, but we feel good about the goaltending tandem we have.”
Considering that Murray and Tristan Jarry have performed almost identically in the calendar year of 2020, much of Jarry’s impressive season stats didn’t end up meaning too much in the coaching decision.
The experience factor was also cited. Murray has started 47 playoff games in the last four years, no small figure to sneeze at. Jarry has 57 starts in his entire NHL career.
With up to all five games coming in the next week (if necessary), Jarry probably figures to get an opportunity to play at some point if those games actually become necessary and the underdog Canadiens end up winning some games off Murray and the Penguins. But Murray has demonstrated the ability to win playoff games himself and will get the first crack at guiding the Pens through the bubble.