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Stanley Cup Final

Matt Murray bounces back to get shutout for Penguins in Game 5

Goalie makes 24 saves after two straight Cup Final losses to Predators

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / NHL.com Columnist

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray might have had easier shutouts in his NHL career. But it's unlikely that he imagined one so simple would come in the pressure-cooker of the Stanley Cup Final.

Murray made 24 saves in a 6-0 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 5 at PPG Paints Arena for his second shutout this postseason and third of his career.

He became the second Penguins goalie to get a shutout in the Cup Final, joining Tom Barrasso, who did it against the Minnesota North Stars in Game 6 in 1991 and the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 in 1992.

 

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None of Murray's 24 saves seemed particularly challenging, and he had the luxury of playing with an ever-expanding lead that started 91 seconds into the game.

That's when Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz shot a one-timer past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne from inside the blue line for a power-play goal and a 1-0 lead. The Penguins, thanks to a backhand by Bryan Rust, made it 2-0 at 6:43 of the first, then went ahead 3-0 in the final 11 seconds of the period when Evgeni Malkin scored.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm5: Murray denies Neal's two chances

"It's good for the momentum of the team, but from a goalie's perspective, it doesn't change my job," Murray said. "I have no control over whether the puck goes in the net at the other end of the ice. I just have full confidence that our team is going to score, but my job stays the same, no matter what, that's just to stop the puck. … No matter what happens out there, my mindset is just to stop the next one."

There had been debate, if not among the Penguins, about whether Murray, having lost Games 3 and 4 while allowing eight goals in Nashville, would start Game 5 instead of Marc-Andre Fleury.

"Sure, you want a good bounce-back game after a bad one, but at the end of the day you just prepare each and every game the same way and try to give yourself the best chance to be successful," Murray said. "I'm definitely a competitive guy, but I try to take things one step at a time and not get too far ahead of myself."

Murray is the third rookie to get a shutout in the Stanley Cup Final since 1967-68, joining Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens (1986, Game 4 against the Calgary Flames) and Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes (2006, Game 2 against the Edmonton Oilers).

"There's always ways to improve, for sure," Murray said. "I thought the team played a pretty solid game overall. That helps a lot, obviously. There are definitely things you can take from any game, no matter what happens -- try to be better going forward."

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