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Penguins have no worries with Murray

With Fleury sidelined, rookie goaltender has sparkled

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

WASHINGTON -- He has won seven straight starts, but rookie goaltender Matt Murray isn't letting the pressure get to him.

Entrusted with the Pittsburgh Penguins net while No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is sidelined with a concussion, and with one regular-season game remaining for the Penguins, the net could belong to Murray when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin April 13.

"I try not to think about it," Murray said. "I know what my job is. It's still hockey, no matter what the circumstance, so I just try to play it one game at a time and one shot at a time."

Video: PIT@OTT: Murray stuffs Zibanejad on the breakaway

Pittsburgh, the second-place finisher in the Metropolitan Division, will play either the New York Rangers or the New York Islanders in the first round of the playoffs.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Thursday that Fleury is making significant progress toward a return and is considered day-to-day. Still, Murray's strong play allows Pittsburgh some flexibility.

The Penguins have won eight consecutive games, five of them with Murray, 21, in net.

In 12 career NHL starts, all this season, Murray has a 9-2-1 record. His most recent victory was a 4-3 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Thursday, when the Penguins clinched home ice for the first round of the playoffs.

Pittsburgh plays its final regular-season game Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC). The Flyers are still trying to fight their way into the playoffs as the second wild card.

"He's mature beyond his years," coach Mike Sullivan said. "One of the reasons why I think that is his ability to not allow the emotion of the game to distract him from being at his best. His focus, his demeanor is mature. As a result, I think you can see the type of goalie that he is. He has a calming effect on our group."

This is Murray's second stint with the Penguins this season. He was recalled from Wilkes-Barre of the American League in December when Fleury was sidelined with his first concussion and played four games, with a 2-1-1 record.
Murray has been no slouch in the AHL, either. He has a 20-9-1 record, four shutouts and a 2.10 goals-against average in 31 games this season,. His .931 save percentage is tied for the best in the league.

"Your goalie's got to be good for any team to have success," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said, "and he's been thrown into some important games, especially early on in his career.

"It's a lot of pressure for a young goalie. He's handled it really well. He's got some important games under him already, so it's nice to see him doing well and having some fun in there."

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