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Stanley Cup Final

Matt Murray closes Cup Final with back-to-back shutouts for Penguins

Goalie defeats Predators to win second championship as rookie

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- Matt Murray was exhausted.

The Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender skated to the bench, sat down and tried to quench his thirst with an energy drink. 

This was more than a half-hour after the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with a 2-0 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.

Murray made 27 saves for his second consecutive shutout, and finished the Final by making 64 straight saves.

It is two Stanley Cup championships for Murray, who is technically still a rookie.

 

[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Predators series coverage | Penguins join historic company with fifth championship]

 

Murray was 7-3 in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 1.70 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage and three shutouts.

The significance had not fully hit him.

"Not yet, honestly," Murray said. "My heart rate is still pretty high from the game. It hasn't stopped since. I'm trying to relax a bit here. I think it will start to sink in in the next few days."

This was a far cry from the way the playoffs started for Murray.

Video: Clutch Performance: Murray makes 27 saves in win

He was injured in warm-ups before Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Because of the injury and the way Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was playing, Murray didn't get his job back until Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators.

What if someone had told him this would happen the day of his injury before Game 1?

"I don't rule anything out," Murray said. "I always think positive and [am] always optimistic. I went thought a lot of tough times this year, especially at the start of the playoffs there with that injury.

"But with the staff, I was able to get back pretty quick and stronger than before."

Fleury handed Murray the Stanley Cup on Sunday and Murray called it one of the "most special moments" of his life. The gesture spoke to the relationship between the goaltenders and their mutual respect.

"I don't know that a two-goalie system would have worked if it weren't for the quality of people that these two guys are," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "There were times during the season, there were times during the playoffs, where there isn't enough net for either one of them. We take those decisions very seriously, that decision might have been the hardest and most difficult decision that I've ever made as a coach."

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Murray turns away Ekholm, Arvidsson

Murray's considerable composure was tested when the Predators had a 5-on-3 for 32 seconds in the third period. The Penguins killed it off; the Predators were 0-for-4 on the power play.

"That's probably the moment of our season right there," Murray said. "We were able to get it done. A couple of good blocks and we kept them to the outside. I'm really proud of how we were able to get it done.

"In a scenario like this, a lot of times you make your own luck. As a team, I thought we competed really well. We didn't let the fact we hadn't scored all game get us down and we put one in the last couple minutes."

So, what about his plans for his day with the Stanley Cup, Part 2?

"Probably do less with it [this time]," he said, smiling.

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