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Stanley Cup Final

Matt Murray of Penguins looks to bounce back against Predators in Game 4

Goalie, defeated in Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final, is 7-0 following loss in playoffs

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / NHL.com Columnist

NASHVILLE - Matt Murray has never once in the Stanley Cup Playoffs lost two consecutive games. Not that he's apparently aware of the fact.

"Not exactly," the Pittsburgh Penguins goalie said after practice Sunday at Bridgestone Arena, shrugging when asked whether he knew that he was undefeated (7-0) following a loss through 28 NHL career playoff games. "Just play the game, man. Play the game. It doesn't matter the scenario, it doesn't matter what's going on. My job doesn't change. I just play."

Murray absorbed a 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday. Having twice rebounded to win this season after losses to the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Final, Murray will look to run his record to 8-0 in Game 4 here on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports). The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series, 2-1.

 

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"(The Predators) got a couple good bounces and that was the difference," Murray said of Game 3. "Not huge adjustments that we have to make, we just need to be a little bit more on our toes, a little bit more proactive."

Like any goaltender at this level, especially in the cauldron of Stanley Cup Final pressure, Murray had neither the desire nor the time to stress the loss, saying, "We're moving forward. We took what we needed to from that game."

The most important lesson the Penguins learned?

"Just that it's what we do, not what they do," he said. "We want to dictate the terms out there and I think that we have (done that) most of the series. If we're able to do that, we give ourselves the best chance to win."

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan had no concern Sunday about the bounce-back ability of his 23-year-old goalie, who responded magnificently to pressure last season in anchoring his team to the Stanley Cup championship.

"I just think [Murray] has the ability to move by adversities," Sullivan said. "He's a mentally tough kid. He's a real resilient kid. He doesn't let any of the outside noise, or if he thought he should have had one of the goals, he doesn't let that stuff affect him. He has the ability to move by that stuff. Usually, that's certain maturity in a player's game, regardless of the position. It might be most difficult at the goaltending position, for obvious reasons. That's maturity in someone's game that usually takes time to acquire."

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Murray uses blocker to rob Jarnkrok

That likely is the byproduct of Murray's attention to detail and routine, and an ability to close the door on a bad night and open it the next morning seeing only fresh opportunity before him.

"It depends on the day and the scenario," Murray said. "I watched some video this morning and had a good practice today. You take what you can from a game like (Saturday) and you put it behind yourselves and you move past it. Once it's over, a loss is a loss and it doesn't really matter how it happened or what happened out there, you just move forward and try to be better for the next one."

Five different Predators scored on Murray in Game 3, two goals coming on the power play. If the goalie keeps a book on opposing shooters, it's nothing more than a light read in the playoffs, a shooter's tendencies as unpredictable as postseason hockey.

"You definitely look at certain guys," Murray said. "Each team seems to have their few guys who do things a little differently that you need to be aware of. But once the puck drops, that moves to the back of your head and you just try to be relaxed and fluid and respond out there rather than guessing what a guy's going to do. You want to be loose and you want to be able to respond.

"Sure, you look at tendencies, it's not going to hurt to know, but at the end of the day, you just try to get lost in the game and try to be fluid. You never know what's going to happen out there. Guys aren't going to do exactly the same thing every time, obviously."

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