The Pittsburgh Penguins’ offensive explosion has garnered most of the headlines this season, but it’s one underrated player that has really impressed so far.
Think about the Pittsburgh Penguins and your mind probably immediately thinks of Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin as the stars of the team, and rightfully so, as those two are Pittsburgh legends. After those two, maybe you start to think about Kris Letang, the star defensemen, or the young players starting to make names for themselves.
All of those players are deserving of recognition, but recently, one player has emerged as somebody synonymous with Penguins hockey. Goalkeeper Matt Murray may not be the first guy we think of when it comes to our beloved Penguins team, but the guy has become a real star for the team, and it’s time we give him the respect he deserves.
On Friday, Murray didn’t have his best start, as several shots found the post or were missed by a Stars team that isn’t exactly an offensive powerhouse. With that said, Murray’s ability to overcome sloppy play is what stood out in this one. He made a few critical saves on shots that looked like sure-fire goals and provided a steadying presence for the Penguins. That steadying presence is precisely why the Penguins have been on such a tear lately and is just another reason why Murray should be viewed as one of the NHL’s better goaltenders.
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For proof of Murray’s effectiveness, take a look at the stats so far. With a save percentage of 91% and a goals-against-average of 2.56, Murray is putting up quality numbers. He passes the eye test as well, looking comfortable despite added expectations this season. Outside of one poor start against the Jets this season, Murray has been a brick wall in goal, and without him, Pittsburgh likely would have crumbled by now.
The Penguins have made waves this season with their offensive explosion, but Murray deserves his share of credit as well. In his career, he has overcome injuries and bouts of inconsistency that would have derailed plenty of other careers. In the midst of what might be his best season ever, it’s time we start talking about Murray as a true Pittsburgh Penguins star.