Jeff Zatkoff started the 2016 playoffs in net for the Pittsburgh Penguins and beat the New York Rangers while stopping 35 of 37 shots.
Matt Murray was hurt against the Flyers in the regular season finale. Fleury was already banged up. The Penguins left Pittsburgh with the series tied 1-1. Zatkoff played really well in game one. Had he not, maybe things would have been different. Maybe.
That postseason, Matt Murray played 21 games, and Fleury and Zatkoff combined for four.
It was all hands on deck in the goaltender department.
In 2017, Matt Murray was injured pregame before game one of the opening round against the Jackets.
Marc-Andre Fleury was sublime in that series. The Penguins were spanked in that first period. You can make the argument that the Penguins would have lost the series if not for Fleury.
Fleury made the save of the post-season when he robbed Alex Ovechkin with the knob of his stick in game seven of the second round playoff series.
They don’t win that one without Flower. He went 9-6 that postseason with a .924 save percentage. Murray went 7-3 when he returned from injury. His save percentage that run was .937.
The Penguins aren’t in a position right now to throw Matt Murray a bone. The Metropolitan Division is a bear and they’ve got to keep stacking points.
You’ve got to go with the better player the majority of the time.
Right now, Tristan Jarry is the better player. It’s not even close. He's first in the league in save percentage and goals against average.
That being said, Murray played better his last time out against Montreal.
As illustrated above, I think you need two goalies to win the cup. Certainly the Penguins would feel much better with two hot goalies going into the playoffs.
Murray won the Pens two rings. Great. As a Penguins fan, he’ll have my love forever. That doesn’t mean it should get him consistent playing time now.
BUT, the Penguins should get him in against the Coyotes on Sunday. And they need to pepper him into the lineup from time to time.
They’ll need him playing good hockey come March and April. It’s hard to find a rhythm if you’re not playing AT ALL.
Matt Murray doesn’t need to be the starter when the weather gets warmer and the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll around.
But the Penguins need him to be ready if they have to break glass in case of emergency like they did in 2016 and 2017.