Skip to main content
playoffs

Murray wins battle of 21-year-old goalies in Game 2

Penguins rookie overcomes shaky start, 38-save performance by Vasilevskiy in OT win against Lightning

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins rookie Matt Murray won the battle of the 21-year-old goaltenders in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday, even without his "A" game.

Tampa Bay Lighting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy might have had the most impressive performance of his young NHL career on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at Consol Energy Center. Murray fought the puck for the majority of the first two periods.

Though Murray made exactly half as many saves as Vasilevskiy, he got the win when Sidney Crosby scored 40 seconds into overtime to give the Penguins 3-2 victory and tie the best-of-7 series 1-1. Game 3 is at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Vasilevskiy made 25 saves after replacing injured starter Ben Bishop midway through the first period of Tampa Bay's 3-1 victory in Game 1. He finished with 38 saves in Game 2 and kept Tampa Bay afloat through three periods. Despite being outshot 38-21 entering overtime, the Lightning had a chance to go up 2-0 in the series primarily because of Vasilevskiy's performance.

Video: TBL@PIT, Gm2: Murray stops Killorn late in the 2nd

"He's outstanding," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "You never want to lose your No. 1 guy in [Bishop], but you've got 1A-plus right behind him … I thought he was outstanding tonight and probably the reason why that game went to overtime in the first place."

Vasilevskiy's best save came midway through the second period when he robbed Crosby after Evgeni Malkin slipped a pass to him above the crease. Vasilevskiy committed to Malkin, then twisted back to his left just in time to glove Crosby's backhand shot before it could cross the goal line.

Tampa Bay forward Jonathan Drouin said Vasilevskiy kept the Lightning in the game, especially after they fell behind 2-0 in the first period.

"I think everybody knows that," Drouin said. "You saw that. He was great today again, and you could see it in the first period. He bailed us out pretty hard."

Video: TBL@PIT, Gm2: Vasilevskiy flashes glove for the save

At the opposite end, Murray visibly struggled for the first time in his 11 playoff starts, but made 19 saves to earn his eighth playoff victory.

Murray's tough night began when he allowed Pittsburgh's two-goal lead to slip away late in the first period. The second goal, in particular, bothered him: Drouin put a shot from near the top of the right circle under Murray's blocker with 49.2 seconds remaining to tie the game.

"It was from distance through our D-man, through the screen," Murray said, "and I just overplayed it and he beat me between the body and my arm … Just the timing of it. We got off to a quick lead and weren't able to hold it, but I was happy with how I shut it down."

Video: TBL@PIT, Gm2: Murray and Hagelin keep the game tied

It looked like Murray's run as Pittsburgh's starter might be nearing its end. Television cameras caught Penguins coach Mike Sullivan telling goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has not played since sustaining his second concussion of the season on March 31, to be ready following the first intermission.

Sullivan didn't deny that he considered turning to Fleury at some point.

"I'm not saying we didn't," Sullivan said. "We always have discussions between periods on the nature of the game. I'm not going to share the details of the discussions, but I don't want you guys to think we don't have those types of discussions."

Murray responded with 13 saves in the final two periods, though he didn't seem steady for much of the second.

Video: TBL@PIT, Gm2: Vasilevskiy stops Kunitz's early chance

"I was fighting it a little bit in the second period," Murray said, "but you're going to have those kind of nights. You just have to battle through it mentally, and I thought I made a couple big saves in the third when I needed to."

Before those third-period saves, Murray preserved the 2-2 tie when he stopped Alex Killorn on a partial breakaway with eight seconds remaining in the second.

"It was a huge save, there's no doubt," Sullivan said. "What we've always really liked about Matt is his ability to respond when things don't go the way he wants them to go or expects them to go. He's always responded in such a positive way and that's one thing we really like about him."

View More