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Stanley Cup Final

Matt Murray maintaining historic pace for Penguins in Cup Final

With two wins against Predators, goalie hits 20 playoff victories

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray moved into elite company with a 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old made 37 saves to become the third goalie in NHL history to win 20 of his first 28 Stanley Cup Playoff games (20-7), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Hall of Famers Bill Durnan (20-6; 1944-47) and Patrick Roy (20-7; 1986-88) are the others.

"I think he's unbelievable," Penguins center Evgeni Malkin said of Murray. "He's never nervous. Again, just one goal they scored. He stopped all the pucks. It gives the team more power to win."

 

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Murray has won five of six games since returning from injury to start Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators. Pittsburgh won that series in seven games after Marc-Andre Fleury was its goalie against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round and Washington Capitals in the second round.

"It's unbelievable to have two good goalies," Malkin said. "They play the same. [Murray] had an injury before and now he's back and every game he's played better and better."

After winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins last season, Murray sustained a lower-body injury during warmups for Game 1 against the Blue Jackets. He relieved Fleury in Game 3 against the Senators and has allowed 11 goals since.

"He never seems to be rattled or be scrambling," Penguins center Matt Cullen said. "He's just big-bodied (6-foot-4) and playing some really good hockey for us right now."

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Murray sprawls across to rob Jarnkrok

The Predators had seven shots on goal in the final 37 seconds of the first period Wednesday, including good scoring chances by Viktor Arvidsson, Pontus Aberg, Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi.

Murray stopped them all to keep the game tied 1-1.

"You never want to allow anything in the last little bit of a period, never want to give them any momentum going into an intermission," Murray said. "So at the end of each period, it's a big point in any game, and we were able to weather that storm and kind of go from there.

"They came pretty hard from the start, and I just tried to make the next save. That's what my focus is, to hold them off as long as possible. After that, we have confidence we're going to score goals. That's a big point in the game. I thought we played a lot better after the first period."

The save on Forsberg, when Murray stretched out his left pad after stopping Aberg's quick shot off a faceoff, was particularly strong.

"He's excellent, made huge, huge saves for us at key times in this game, specifically one down low on his pad where he kept close, got the rebound and covered it up, even with them crashing the net," Penguins forward Chris Kunitz said. "He's been phenomenal, and in the times we haven't controlled play, he's been our best player out there and keeping them off the board."

The Penguins scored three times in the first 3:18 of the third take a 4-1 lead, and Murray made six saves in the period.

"It doesn't change my job whatsoever," he said. "I don't have any control over how many goals we score. I have full belief in this team, and that said, my job is to stop the puck and that's where my mindset stays."

Game 3 is at Nashville on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

"I still don't think it was our best game," Murray said. "Like always, there's room to improve."

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Murray stones Aberg, Forsberg in order

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