The Washington Capitals are a win away from the Stanley Cup. Up 3 games to 1 against a fading-looking Vegas Golden Knights whose Cinderella story appears to have ended a moment too soon, not even the Caps could blow this one, right? (Reverse jinx, activate!)
Anyways, the Caps have picked apart Marc-Andre Fleury just like they’ve put a ton of pucks past former Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky and 2018 Vezina finalist Andrei Vasilievsky. Oh yeah and to an extent Matt Murray too.
Goals-against average of netminders who've faced the Caps this postseason:— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) June 5, 2018
Bobrovsky -- 3.18
Murray -- 2.66
Vasilevskiy -- 3.16
Fleury -- 3.91 (through two periods of Game 4)
Murray probably fared the best out of any goalie to meet Washington this spring, not that it is saying much.
Still, Murray only surrendered the following goal totals over the games in the 2nd round: 2, 3, 4, 1, 4 and 2. Knowing just that, it’s tough to blame him for the Pens elimination, no matter what percentage of shots went in the net. An offensive-minded team like Pittsburgh just has to be able to reliably score 3+ goals a game. That’s just in the Pens DNA, if they’re not scoring, they’re not winning. It seemed after the playoff the narrative was Murray was poor in the Caps series, but simply from a view of goals against, that doesn’t really appear to be the case.
Add it up and Murray gave up 16 total goals in the six games of the series to the Capitals. His counter-part Braden Holtby saw 13 go in playing against Pittsburgh. The margin between winning and losing can be a very fine one.
Of course, and perhaps it’s only been fitting that the tables have been turned for once. Now Pittsburgh fans this summer have to think “what if Murray makes that save in the 3rd period of Game 3” or “what if Tom Kuhnhackl hits net and not post in Game 6 OT” where it was the Caps fans lamenting their “what ifs” so many years in the past.
Prior to the playoffs started, I picked the Penguins to fall to the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. Figured no run lasts forever and maybe for once injuries, goaltending and luck wouldn’t smile on a Mike Sullivan-led Pittsburgh team. Turned out it happened a round earlier than I projected, but it happened just the same. I believe that’s about why the elimination has been easier to stomach for most rational Pens fans (not withstanding that it’s the rival Caps on the cusp of winning).
To me, it really makes no difference if the team that eliminate the Pens wins it all, there’s no special badge of honor to know they went down to the league’s best or anything like that. Nor does it eat too much at a missed opportunity, I still don’t believe Pittsburgh had the legs, health and goaltending to get by Tampa this year, let alone win another round after that.
But, we’ll put the question out there to see what everyone is thinking now about Murray and the Pens and if anything has changed in the last month since getting knocked out of the playoffs? It’s an interesting topic to banter around.
Has your opinion of Matt Murray and/or the Pens been changed/influenced about what Washington has done since the 2nd round?
This poll is closed
Yes, makes the Pens performance seem a bit better/more understandable
No, not really