The Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins meet Friday in game two of the first round of the National Hockey League playoffs at the PPG Paints Arena. While the Penguins have been using a two goalie system throughout the season with Matt Murray and Marc Andre-Fleury, the Blue Jackets have stuck with their former Vezina Trophy victor all season. He lost his starting job this season to Murray, who helped the Penguins to a fourth Stanley Cup last spring when Fleury went down late in the regular season with a concussion.
Pittsburgh initially announced Murray as the starter for Game 1 and he took the ice first during warmups but left earlier than normal after consulting with team trainers.
"Pittsburgh", Jones said. "The reason I like Pittsburgh better [than the Washington Capitals] is because center icemen win Stanley Cups, and until Backstom and Kuznetsov prove to me that they are as good as Crosby and Malkin when it counts, I can't pick them". In the 18 games he started from 2014 to 2015, Fleury registered a.919 SP and 2.32 GAA, even if it that happened to go along with an 8-10 record. "If we keep playing this same way, we will win the next game here, too". The score was 3-1 but the pain felt much worse with the Penguins notching their three goals all in the second period. Pittsburgh Penguins' Nick Bonino (13) celebrates his goal with Patric Hornqvist (72) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL first-round hockey playoff series in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, April 12, 2017.
"We got to focus on getting more pucks to the net", Brandon Dubinsky said.
Two-and-a-half minutes after Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead in the game, Kessel netted a power-play goal, which gave the Penguins a 2-0 advantage over the Blue Jackets. After several hard years in the middle of his career, Fleury was as on top of his game in 2015-16 as he had been in years, posting an outstanding.921 SP and 2.29 goals-against average in almost 60 games.
Fleury is 32 but feels like he should be older, if just because he's been around forever. "I'm just anxious about speed", Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "I was a little nervous at the beginning maybe from not expecting it". Columbus did a lot of nice things last night. Often the defending champion team will say that every other opposing team will be giving them their best game, but the Penguins have not had to use that mindset.
Penguins' Bryan Rust skates against the Calgary Flames in Pittsburgh in February. Russell Westbrook got an MVP endorsement from Oscar Robertson before the game, but the Thunder guard only played the first half of Oklahoma City's 111-105 loss to Denver.