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Penguins' Murray remains calm despite Game 3 loss

Goalie is 4-0 in this year's playoffs following Pittsburgh defeat

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

SAN JOSE -- Seeing Matt Murray bound into his postgame media scrum, saying "excuse me, excuse me," as he cut through a gathering of reporters like a kid trying to get to the front of the line at an amusement park, you would have never known that only minutes earlier the Pittsburgh Penguins rookie goalie gave up the biggest goal of his life.

Joonas Donskoi doinked one off of Murray's mask and into the back of the net 12:18 into overtime to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 win against the Penguins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center on Saturday.

Murray made 23 saves on 26 shots, not enough to stop San Jose from cutting Pittsburgh's lead in the best-of-7 series to 2-1.

"I definitely don't dwell on it," Murray said, half-laughing as the words came out of his mouth.

This is the beauty of Murray, all of 22-years-old.

Video: PIT@SJS, Gm3: Ward blasts home equalizer

He can give up a self-described "bad goal," like the one he allowed to Joel Ward at 8:48 of the third period that tied the game at 2-2, take a deep breath and forget about it. He can give up an overtime goal and minutes later act like it never happened.

He's good at it. He's good at moving on. He's 4-0 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a loss. That's a good sign for the Penguins going into Game 4 here on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"After a goal goes in you can't take it out of the net and you can't take it off the scoreboard, so you move on and you just worry about stopping the next one," Murray said. "I made a couple good saves there in the third and a couple in overtime. Unfortunately that one [in overtime] gets past me, but I felt really good all night to be honest."

This is what the Penguins love about Murray. They love his composure, his calm. They trust him. It's all good and it bodes well for a bright future for him in Pittsburgh, maybe even with a Stanley Cup ring in his first playoff run.

But there was one problem with all of this Saturday. Ward's goal, the one that tied the game, it never should have happened.

There's a myriad of reasons why Ward should never have even been in position to take an uncontested slap shot from a foot below where it says "STANLEY CUP FINAL" in the Penguins zone.

Sidney Crosby should have gotten the puck deep in the other end. Kris Letang shouldn't have joined the rush with Crosby when the Penguins were still a few seconds away from killing Nick Bonino's four-minute high-sticking double minor.

Ward shot while the Sharks had a 3-on-2.

Video: PIT@SJS, Gm3: Murray denies Thornton in overtime

Regardless, Murray knows he should have stopped it. It's a shot he probably would stop if Ward fired from there nine more times.

"I felt really good all night so I don't want to say one bad goal makes it a bad game necessarily," Murray said.

Nobody is suggesting it does. But on this stage, in the Cup Final, when a goalie allows an uncontested 41-foot straight-on slap shot to beat him, costing his team the lead in the third period, it doesn't get buried as one that got away.

It gets discussed and dissected until there's another game to play.

And so Murray described it as "a bit of a weird one." He talked about how Ward's release point was further back than on most slap shots and how the puck dipped at the last second, how he "just waved at it and missed it."

Then came his admission of guilt.

"It's not a good goal by any means," Murray said, "but I thought I made a couple good saves after that."

No doubt about it. That's, again, why the Penguins love him so much.

"They were pressing late and he made some saves," Crosby said. "In overtime he made some saves. [Murray] was great. He gave us a chance."

He did by making some ten-bell saves in overtime.

Video: PIT@SJS, Gm3: Murray stones Burns in front

Murray stopped Sharks defenseman Brent Burns at the door step and then smothered the puck one minute into overtime.

He stopped Burns' shot out of the corner at 6:18, and he made a gigantic save on Thornton's wrist off of a 2-on-1 with Joe Pavelski at 6:59. Pavelski had another great look seconds later, but Murray hugged the left post and prevented that one from getting past him too.

But Donskoi's shot was a bee-bee that Murray couldn't stop. It ricocheted up, clipped the side of his mask and went into the top right corner of the net.

Video: PIT@SJS, Gm3: Donskoi goes top-shelf to win Game 3

"I'm not sure it got deflected, but I know the puck was rolling when he turned his stick over," Murray said. "The way he had his stick it was pretty closed off so I don't think he was going top corner, I think he was just trying to get it on net. The puck either rolled or it hit something and it just went off the side of my head and snuck by. It's a pretty good placement of a shot, I guess."

Good enough to where it was impossible to stop?

"There's always something you could have done," he said, refusing to absolve himself of blame, "but I definitely don't dwell on it."

He certainly didn't on this night.

Murray stood in front of the reporters with their cameras and recorders and acted like nothing had happened. There was no sign of devastation, which is part of his charm and why the Penguins trust him and love him so much.

Maybe in Game 4 he also won't allow an uncontested 41-foot slap shot to beat him. They'll love him even more. They might win too.

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