Skip to main content

Penguins goalie Murray calm ahead of Game 6

Rookie says he has but two things to do against Sharks: see the puck, stop the puck

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

SAN JOSE -- See the puck, stop the puck.

"That's what goaltending is," Pittsburgh Penguins rookie goalie Matt Murray said while laughing. "You're there to stop the puck."

Can it really be that simple for him to block out the noise and what's at stake in a massive moment, such as the one he'll be in at SAP Center on Sunday in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, and abide by that simple six-word rule?

"Yeah," Murray said Saturday in a private moment after he was finished with his media obligations.

And then he shrugged his shoulders, as if to suggest, "Man, what else do you want me to say?"

"It's simple," Murray, 22, said.

If you needed any confirmation for Murray's level of confidence going into Game 6 (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), you got it right there.

It's high, quite high in fact.

Video: Murray talks to the media after practice in San Jose

Murray isn't overanalyzing how he and the Penguins got to Game 6.

He watched film of the three goals he allowed in a 4-2 loss in Game 5 but didn't see anything in particular that stood out to him.

"You've been playing this game for so long that you can tell yourself what you did wrong the second after a goal goes in," Murray said. "It's obviously a lot easier watching it back on video and telling yourself what you could have done better, stuff like that, but we know how to play the game."

So he's not thinking anymore about the goals he has allowed in this series, like the two that beat him in the same spot on the short side, one from forward Joonas Donskoi in overtime in Game 3 and the other from defenseman Brent Burns at 1:04 of the first period in Game 5.

Did he give an inch to Burns that he shouldn't have given? Probably. Did he misread what Donskoi was doing, where he was shooting? He doesn't think so, but it's possible.

So what. Fix it and move on. That's his attitude right now.

"We love his makeup," coach Mike Sullivan said.

Does Murray wish he didn't allow three goals on seven shots in the first period of Game 5? Well, yeah, but wishing doesn't change history.

"Can't take them out of the net," Murray has said in the past. "Can't take them off the scoreboard."

Would the Penguins have already won the Stanley Cup if Murray stops Joel Ward's uncontested slap shot in the third period of Game 3? Would they have won the Cup if he got his glove up on Melker Karlsson's knuckling one-timer from the slot at 14:47 of the first period in Game 5?

Maybe. Maybe not.

"You don't want to overthink it here," Murray said.

Murray is instead looking ahead, focused on Game 6, the first shot, the next opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.

In his world, or at least in his mind, there's no need to react to losing Game 5 differently than he did after any of his previous five losses in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Why would he react differently? He's 5-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in starts after a loss this postseason.

"Matt is confident," Penguins third-string goalie Jeff Zatkoff said.

And the Penguins are confident in him, so they don't worry about how he'll respond in Game 6.

"Honestly, we haven't really had to [be concerned with Murray] this whole playoffs," left wing Chris Kunitz said. "He's had great starts. He's had great, big saves at key times for us. Games that we haven't won, it usually comes from a lack of support somewhere on the ice that we didn't give him. He carries himself so well that you always have that confidence in him."

Part of that confidence also comes from Murray's body language. He knows how much it matters in these situations. He knows if he throws up his arms after a goal against or lets down his guard after a loss, how terrible that would look.

Video: SJS@PIT, Gm5: Murray denies a pair of shots

Players feed off of that. They get energized by their goalie when he's on and they don't worry about him when they know they can trust him.

Just look at the Sharks with Martin Jones. They didn't play well enough in front of him for long portions of Game 5, but they won because of him and his 44 saves, and now they're confident they can win the series.

Murray has to maintain that confidence in himself so his teammates can maintain their belief in him.

To do it, he needs to do two things: See the puck, stop the puck.

"That's what has made him so successful his postseason," Zatkoff said.

Keep doing it and it'll make him a champion.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.