The digital ink was barely dry on that missive when Ottawa launched a first-period blitz on the Penguins in Game 3, an offensive explosion that resulted in a goal at the 48-second mark and three more before the game was 13 minutes old. "We played a solid defensive game, kept them on the outside".
And for the defensemen's malfeasance, Marc-Andre Fleury was punished.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will give Matt Murray his first start of the playoffs in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final Friday night in Ottawa.
Currently, Erik Karlsson is tied for the team lead in shots with Jean-Gabriel Pageau at 7 shots apiece during the Eastern Conference Finals.
But on Day 36, Fleury may have seen his outstanding run come to an end.
Montreal's '76-77 team won 39 of its final 40 regular-season games, still holds the record for most points with 132, outscored opponents by 216 goals and went 12-2 in the playoffs on the way to the second of four consecutive championships. They both want to be in the net.
It's a tough break for Fleury, who was mostly sensational throughout the playoffs.
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Just two minutes later, the Sens re-entered the zone. Just 24 seconds after that, it was Zack Smith who slipped a wraparound into a yawning cage.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said early mistakes cost them the game. It wasn't enough, however.
The Senators entered this series as the inferior team from a personnel standpoint, and that is still the case.
bet365 Sports has posted their odds ahead of tonight's Game 3 and they are very attractive for punters.
Sullivan said he hasn't made up his mind who will start in goal for Pittsburgh in game four.
Game 4 takes place at the Canadian Tire Centre on Friday.
For what it's worth, neither team did a particularly good job of getting to the high-danger areas of the ice. It's not one he's entirely unfamiliar with, however. The Penguins yet again spoiled the Washington Capitols' chances this year in the last series, while the Senators got the best of the NY Rangers after six games.
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The 27-year-old hasn't played since Game 2 of Ottawa's first-round series against Boston.
Senators are 4-0 in their last 4 home games. He just knows his team needs to do better in Game 4. "That's been a hard decision for this coaching staff all year long". To say he's in the conversation for the Conn Smythe would be to undersell it. Fleury has had one of the worst regular seasons of his career, in which he posted a 3.00+ GAA for the first time since 2005-06. The nature of the injury Murray suffered has never been disclosed and there's no telling if he's entirely healed or choosing instead to battle through whatever is or was ailing him. And yet, the first period Wednesday said a lot. He's having one of his best seasons to date and systematically taking down the NHL's powerhouse goalies series after series. Fleury stopped all seven shots he faced in relief and got the nod for Game 5. Fleury is still expected to start Game 4, however.
Fleury has also given Sullivan no reason, not one, to doubt his ability to come back from a bad outing.
But Matt Murray is in net, and Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin all healthy - this game is far from over. well, until they still couldn't earn a second-period goal and Kyle Turris closed out the period blowing by Murray to make it a 5-0 lead.
Just about everything went wrong in the first period for the Penguins on Monday. "It was good to get that out of the way, and it felt good to get back out there".
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.
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