It was Benjamin Franklin who coined the term ‘nothing is certain but death and taxes’. Throughout history, others have made their own version of it, usually adding in something else along with the death and taxes part. Well, over the last two playoffs, there is truly a third certainty in life, death, taxes, and that would be Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Murray rebounding from a loss.
The young netminder hasn’t had to deal with losing too much early on in his career, but when he has, he has rebounded beautifully from it.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking for him to tap into that magic some more after falling to the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, by the score of 5-1.
Murray was far from his usual brilliant self, allowing five goals on 33 shots faced in the loss. Through the first two games of the series, Murray had stopped 60-of-64 shots.
Pittsburgh was once again outshot. But, this time they couldn’t capitalize on their few opportunities, only receiving a goal from Jake Guentzel, just a couple of minutes into the game.
Pittsburgh Penguins playoff history
With the Pittsburgh Penguins making the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year, that gives Murray his second appearance of his early career. That officially gives him more appearances in the Stanley Cup Final than he does full seasons in the NHL.
He’s been money in the playoffs, posting a career 20-8 record. Even with last night’s start, Murray still sports an impressive 1.96 goals-against-average (GAA) as well as a .930 save percentage (SV%) during these playoffs. Both are actually better than his career post-season numbers (2.05 GAA, .925 SV%).
After missing game one against the New York Rangers a year ago, Murray returned and started every game but one for the Pittsburgh Penguins the rest of the way out. Marc-Andre Fleury started against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Conference Finals before giving way to Murray once again.
After closing out the San Jose Sharks in the Final, Murray became the fifth rookie goaltender to backstop their teams to hoist the Stanley Cup. He is joining Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Cam Ward, and Antti Niemi. You must admit… that’s some pretty good company.
He actually has the opportunity to become the first player ever to win the Stanley Cup TWICE as a rookie. He still qualified for one this season, after playing briefly the year before.
For as much successes as Murray has had early on in his career during the playoffs, he hasn’t been perfect. What has made him such a great goalie, and in the process has established him as the future in between the pipes for the Penguins, has been his ability to rebound after suffering losses.
After a loss during the post-season, Matt Murray sports a perfect 8-0 record. He has also posted even better numbers than his career marks, with a 1.59 GAA and .935 SV% in games after losing.
Some of his notable wins after losses: Game 6 against San Jose last year, which was the Stanley Cup-clinching victory, where Murray stopped 18-of-19 shots. Game 6 against the Washington Capitals that saw him stop 36-of-39, before Nick Bonino won the game in overtime.
Also, Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in last year’s conference final (28-of-30), and the Ottawa Senators (27-of-29) in double overtime.
Under Head Coach Mike Sullivan, the Penguins have been fantastic at responding after losing games, especially in the playoffs. A lot of that credit can actually be put towards Murray, as the numbers overwhelmingly show.
Except for some of the offensive outbursts from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Predators have controlled most of the action this series. In terms of shot differential and puck control, Game 3 wasn’t that different than the first two.
The difference was the outcome. Judging on how he has rebounded, it’d be a pretty good guess that Murray is going to play a big factor in how Game 4 turns out.
If history holds strong, Murray is definitely going to put the Pittsburgh Penguins in the best position to win.
Want to share your opinion? Why not write for us?