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Technique failed Matt Murray on Sharks game winning goal

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A dabble into goaltender technique shows that Matt Murray gave an opening for Joonas Donskoi of the Sharks and he took it.

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

USA Today had a very interesting article about how Penguins goalie Matt Murray played his position in the game-winning goal last night scored by the Sharks Joonas Donskoi .

"Too many goalies are staying in the RVH too long," NHL Network analyst and former NHL goalie Kevin Weekes told USA TODAY Sports when asked about Donskoi’s goal.

RVH stands for reverse vertical horizontal, a maneuver that’s gained traction at all levels of hockey, but especially in the NHL. The reason: The NHL made the nets shallower before the 2013-14 season and players can now wrap the puck around from the back of the net easier.

The response was the RVH, where goalies are on their knees with their skate blade against the post to combat those stuff attempts. But goalies get in trouble — like Murray said may have been the case in Game 3 — when they stay on their knees when the puck is further from the net, creating a space over their shoulders, which is where Donskoi scored his goal.

Let's point out here that Patrick Marleau scored a wraparound goal just the very last game. We can't be sure if that flashed in Murray's head as Donskoi skated around the back of the net or if that's his standard procedure for such a situation, but it's worth noting.

As USA Today pointed out, Murray gave up a similar goal in the Washington series when Justin Williams stepped out from behind the net on the right side of Murray (just like Donskoi), gained space and fired a shot high on Murray. Both Williams and Donskoi are right-handed shots as well, giving their stick-blade a lot of net to look at. Marleau, interestingly, is left-handed, so a wraparound is more ideal for him on that side of the ice rather than trying to contort his body and swing around for a longer, high shot.

Fear the Fin has a nice breakdown of the goal (if you can stomach it), here's Murray in the RVH positioning at the moment of the shot.

murray6516

This isn't a total knock on Murray, he could have played this differently (but so too could Justin Schultz)

And Evgeni Malkin lost a step on Donskoi behind the net.

In the NHL in overtime it's a thin line between a win and a loss and a team sport. The Sharks are obviously a good enough team to make it to the Finals, and they made the last good play. Gotta tip your cap and move on, but more importantly going forward we'll see how Murray adjusts to plays where the opposition has the puck behind the goal line. None of us on the internet are goaltending experts to judge what the best play is (in hindsight) but the goalie's job is to keep the puck out of the net. Murray has been doing a pretty good job of that, overall, in these playoffs.