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Get to Know a Penguin: Matt Murray

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As part of the build-up to the second-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Penguins, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important but perhaps lesser-known players on the Penguins and how they might impact the series.

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Matt Murray

#30 / Goaltender / Pittsburgh Penguins

6-4 |  178 |  May 25, 1994

Thunder Bay, ON |  83rd, 2012 (Pittsburgh)

Assets Owns an exceptional frame (6-4) for the goaltending position at the highest level, plus the confidence and icy-cool demeanor needed to excel. Also boasts great athleticism.
Flaws Needs to bulk up a bit so as to maximize his ability to play a lot of games at the highest level (and thrive while doing so). Needs to learn shooters' tendencies better.
Career Potential Talented goaltender with good upside. (Assets, Flaws and Career Potential via The Hockey News player page)

Career 25-Game Rolling Five-on-Five Save Percentage (via Corsica):

Murray Sv%

2015-16 Even-Strength Hextally Shot Chart (via war-on-ice):

Murray Hextally

Why you should know who he is: Notice anything about those charts? Yeah, they've got nothing on them because Matt Murray has played 16 games in the NHL - 13 during the regular season and the last three games of the Pens' dismantling of the Rangers in the first round. Luckily for the Caps, they faced Murray in two of those 13 regular season games, so he's not a complete mystery (Washington scored three goals in each game against the young netminder, winning one and losing the other in overtime, while totaling 67 shots on goal in 123 minutes).

Murray has been quite good for Pittsburgh (after being quite good for the AHL affiliate), and is on a roll, posting a 3-0/1.33/.955 line in the playoffs, and sure looks to be the Pens' goalie of the future when Marc-Andre Fleury (who is currently working his way back from a concussion) is tending the twine for the Las Vegas Aces in two years.

How the Caps can stop him: The lack of familiarity with Murray cuts both ways - the Caps may not have "the book" on him yet, but he's only seen them twice. Heck, he's still an Alex Ovechkin virgin, as he's stopped all nine shots The Great Eight has put on his cage.

In both previous games against Washington, Murray was staked to a multi-goal lead before coughing it up, which may say something about him or it may say something about his team... or it may not say much of anything at all. But you can rest assured that this kid has never been in a situation like he's about to be in, so the formula is simple: get shots, get traffic (Pittsburgh's defense isn't necessarily known for keeping the crease clear), get second-chance opportunities and don't let him get too comfortable back there. This is the NHL - if a goalie can see it, he can stop it.*

* Offer not valid for Steve Mason