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Stanley Cup Final

Penguins goalie Murray never seems rattled

Allows tying goal to Sharks, but makes series of saves to win Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray may be a rookie, but he has reacted like a veteran throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He allowed a tying goal to San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun with 4:05 remaining in the third period Wednesday, and San Jose pushed in the final minute with a chance to steal Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center.

But the 22-year-old turned away three shots in the final 19 seconds, stopped two overtime shots, and earned a 13th victory in 17 playoff starts with a 2-1 win that put Pittsburgh up 2-0 in the best-of-7 series entering Game 3 at SAP Center in San Jose on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Murray would like to have Braun's goal back, but didn't allow it to shake him.

"It's in. You can't take it out of the net," Murray said. "I always say that. So, there's no sense in worrying about it."

Video: SJS@PIT, Gm2: Murray comes up clutch in final minute

Murray hasn't been perfect this postseason. At times, he's described himself as average. But he's consistently responded well to adversity, which has solidified his position as Pittsburgh's starting goaltender. He's playing in front of Marc-Andre Fleury, a Stanley Cup-winning goalie who had an excellent regular season.

Fleury knows why he's sitting. Murray possesses maturity uncommon in goaltenders his age, which was shown again Wednesday.

When Braun's slap shot went through traffic, off the right post and into the net, it robbed Murray of his second playoff shutout. At the time, San Jose had struggled to establish much possession with 16 shots.

After tying the game, the Sharks elevated their play significantly. Murray stopped defenseman Paul Martin's wrist shot with 19 seconds left and turned away a second wrist shot, from forward Joel Ward, three seconds later.

With three seconds remaining, Murray saved defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic's slap shot, allowing Pittsburgh to regroup during the intermission.

"We expect that from him now. It's nothing new," Penguins forward Carl Hagelin said. "He's been good since Day One, even in the regular season when he stepped in and played. So, that's what we're going to keep expecting from him."

Since losing 4-3 in overtime to the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round, Murray has won four straight games that have reached overtime. Each of those wins has been decided early, including Wednesday, when forward Conor Sheary scored at 2:35.

"We just try to do the same thing [in overtime that] we've been doing," Murray said. "I thought in this game, we were the better team for most of the game. We stuck with what we needed to do and we got the huge goal from Conor. So, we got the job done."

Video: SJS@PIT, Gm2: Murray makes stop, preserves Pens' lead

Murray, as usual, downplayed his performance. He credited forward Nick Bonino, who blocked four shots, and the Penguins defensemen for making Wednesday easy on him. And he criticized his inability to fight through traffic to snag Braun's shot before it reached the post.

That's what Murray does. But he also shakes it off.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan has complimented Murray's ability to rebound from a bad goal since he started his first playoff game against the New York Rangers on April 19.

On Wednesday, Sullivan thought the rest of the Penguins shared that poise.

"Our guys just play," Sullivan said. "That's what we told them on the bench when [Braun's shot] went in the net. San Jose's a good team. They're going to get some scoring chances. We liked how our team was playing. We felt like we controlled the majority of the play.

"We just have to keep playing. There have been so many examples of that throughout the course of the postseason with this team that, to this point, it doesn't surprise me. I just think we respond the right way to those adversities that take place."

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