PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- As this Eastern Conference Final series has progressed between the Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, the goaltenders for each team have become a storyline.
In Game 3 in Ottawa, Penguins’ goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled in the first period after giving up four goals in just over 12 minutes to begin the game. Then in Game 5 on Sunday, Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson was pulled after giving up three goals in the first 16 minutes, only to be put right back in and almost immediately surrendering a fourth goal to end the first period before he was pulled for the rest of the game.
Who better to talk about goaltending than the man who once made a play now deemed “The Save” for the Penguins in Game 6 against the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the playoffs, Frank Pietrangelo.
Frank dropped by the studio to join “The Fan Morning Show” for a half hour on Monday to discuss the goalie situations for both teams and all the happenings of Game 5, which he attended at PPG Paints Arena.
Frank says that the controversial move to make Matt Murray the starter in net in Game 4 was the correct one.
“It was a ballsy move by Mike [Sullivan], no doubt about it,” said Pietrangelo. “You know Fleury, he’s been the best player for the Penguins so far in the playoffs up until that game. It’s pretty hard to go away from ‘Flower’ he’s very, very popular in the dressing room, well-liked and well-respected and been here for so long and been a key part of the Penguins’ success over the years. But, you know, Sullivan’s a good coach, he made a move that he thought was best for the club and I’ll be honest with you, I think it was the right move.”
Pietrangelo commended Fleury for the kind of teammate and person he has been throughout his entire Penguins career and how he has handled every situation thrown his way.
“Nobody is bigger than the team and Fleury’s the ultimate team player. He could have went somewhere this year before the season started,” said Pietrangelo. “If I’ve read it once, I’ve read it a million times, he wants to stay in Pittsburgh and I think if you asked him today, he’d still want to stay in Pittsburgh.”
Pietrangelo marvels, though, at the way Matt Murray plays in net and his strengths he displays at such a young age.
“He is so technically sound. He’s a big guy, you see him off the ice, he looks like a stick. He’s skinny but tall and he puts that equipment on and it makes him look so much bigger in the net. But, technically he is unbelievable. He’s the consummate goaltender,” said Pietrangelo. “I think [Montreal goaltender] Carey Price had that for years, but Murray’s even bigger so I think it works that much more to his advantage.”
“To be so young and handle things the way he does, but that’s his personality everybody is different. Let’s look at last year going through that run, he had Marc-Andre Fleury there as his backup goalie. A whole different personality, but somebody who’s lived it, who’s done it before and who helped him through these things. So, it’s made him a better goaltender and you can just see the team and how comfortable they are with Matt Murray in net.”
Frank says that Anderson just didn’t have it yesterday for Ottawa, but he knows how that can happen from time to time, even to the best goalies in the world.
“You have days like that and I think that’s common in any sport. You can watch a starting pitcher who’s a Hall of Famer and goes out there and they’re smacking him around the field. As a goaltender, you have nights like that where the puck seems like a pea. For some of us, it seems like a pea a lot more than others,” said Pietrangelo. “Yesterday, it wasn’t his day maybe but the Penguins were outstanding yesterday and I don’t think it really mattered who was in net.”
You can hear the entire extended interview with Frank Pietrangelo in-studio on “The Fan Morning Show” below.