The Penguins cracked double digits in wins Saturday night and receive a break until Wednesday night in Washington for the beginning of a three-game road trip.
It’s becoming ever more clear that the Penguins have their sights set on winning another Stanley Cup and the window to do so is as open as it’s ever been.
Sullivan returned to his Stanley Cup forward lines of last season in the victory over Toronto Saturday. His starting goalie was the same one that won 15 playoff games en route to a Stanley Cup title for the first time since 2009. This shouldn’t change either.
Matt Murray has been incredible from the time he took over in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton until this point in his adolescent NHL career. He turns away shot after shot with his positionally sound frame and doesn’t waiver when he allows a goal, no matter how rare that occurrence is.
Just to give you a sample, albeit a small one, here are his career stats:
Regular Season: 13-2-1, .938 SV%, 1.82 GAA, 2 SO
Postseason: 15-6-0, .923 SV%, 2.08 GAA, 1 SO
This dude is the real deal. He’s proving it with every time out in the crease. Head coach Mike Sullivan had this guy in his short minor league tenure with WBS and he seems to be confidently sticking with him into his NHL tenure.
Let me get this clear and I don’t think you need me too. I am a Marc-Andre Fleury homer. I will always be a huge fan of him. If you don’t believe me read here. But what I’m going to say comes off a bit harsh. So don’t think my stance has waivered on MAF.
Flower is not a hall of fame goaltender. He has never been a top three goalie in the league with the exception of two seasons ago when he led the league with ten shutouts and he could’ve been considered top five last year when he posted career high’s in save percentage and Goals Against Average.
Fleury has always been in the 7-9 range in my opinion. But he’s always been my favorite player on this team and that won’t change. Is he still a great goalie? Oh, hell yes. Hall of fame caliber? Not really.
Guys like Carey Price and Braden Holtby will be Hall of Fame goaltenders.
Fleury has won games single-handedly for the Penguins for years. Last year, through December, when the team sputtered into the depth’s of despair in the early season, Flower was there.
He’s a great goalie. But I’m willing to bet Matt Murray will be better. And what’s so wrong with that?
Fleury lovers, like myself, must accept what is happening with the Penguins goaltending situation. An elite-caliber goaltender proved through last year’s playoffs that he can play in the highest of pressure situations. And he can do it pretty well.
Murray is just positionally sound. Something that is unbecoming these days in the NHL. Outside of Holtby and Price, who are truthfully in a league of their own, there aren’t many goalies who can rely on their positioning and size the way the 6’4″ Murray can.
Seeing a rookie goalie who had every chance to crumble under the weight of playing in his first Stanley Cup Finals while playing elite talent such as Alexander Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Joe Thornton, and Joe Pavelski along the way gives me all I need to see. He outdueled the same guy who had done the same to the Penguins in two straight years prior.
His calmness and demeanor are unmatched. This young man is a stud. He’s going to be this generation’s Carey Price and I’m willing to guarantee that in fact. He will be the NHL’s best goalie in 3-5 years. And then the Penguins will have the NHL’s best player and best goalie.
It’s a shame that the time has come. Fleury is a great guy and a very good goalie. But the future supersedes the present. Matt Murray has shown he can be the starter. He has seized the job and it should be his until he falters. Being a younger, positionally sounder goalie will win you a goalie competition 10/10 times. It’s his crease now.