The Goaltender No More Questions Penguins Rookie Goaltender Matt Murray Has Played His Way into the Starter's Role?for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the San Jose Sharks

By Menendez, Jenn | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), May 29, 2016 | Go to article overview

The Goaltender No More Questions Penguins Rookie Goaltender Matt Murray Has Played His Way into the Starter's Role?for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the San Jose Sharks


Menendez, Jenn, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Three rounds into the postseason, Penguins goalie Matt Murray is finally the unquestioned starter for Game 1 for the Stanley Cup final.

There were no cheekily worded questions for coach Mike Sullivan after practice Saturday looking for hints, no goalie watch regarding who left the ice first.

It's just obviously Matt Murray ? the same guy who came to the podium at Madison Square Garden in his socks five weeks ago after his first NHL postseason shutout, then closed out the Eastern Conference final Thursday with 16 saves in Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

What a fascinating study of human evolution to watch Murray handle the ebbs and flows of three rounds of the postseason on the eve of Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks.

"I think anytime you see a guy in this league, especially of his age, to be able to get your team to the finals is an accomplishment," backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff said. "He's been a big part of the reason why we are there and at 21 years old [now 22], it's tough not to have respect for him after everything he's accomplished. You see the way he's handled big moments, especially a Game 7. Guys seem to be really comfortable with him back there."

Murray has compiled a 11-4 record this postseason with a 2.24 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

He has been strong, if not perfect.

The biggest test for Murray came last week, after Sullivan turned to veteran Marc-Andre Fleury for the third period of Game 4, all of Game 5, then back to Murray for Game 6.

Would it shake the young man's confidence?

Would he doubt himself? Even a shred?

"He pulled me into his office when he made the decision to go with Flower," Murray said. "We probably talked for 10 minutes, I would say. He talked the whole time. I couldn't get a word in."

Murray smiled telling that story. It's clear the conversation was a meaningful one that took any uncertainty out of the equation, and left his mind with nowhere to wander. …

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