Former Penguins goaltender Matt Murray will be making his first trip back to Pittsburgh with the Senators since he was traded in 2020.
Murray recently spoke of Pittsburgh in an interview with the Post-Gazette’s Matt Vensel, and did not shy away from raving about the city he called home for several years.
“I enjoyed every second of my time in Pittsburgh. And I miss it. I miss it dearly to this day,” Murray said to the P-G. “Things happen the way that they happen and you just try to make the most out of it. I literally have no complaints, no regrets or anything like that. I’m just super thankful that I got to spend all those years there.”
Had a nice chat with Matt Murray, who this week returns to Pittsburgh for the first time since being traded.— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) January 18, 2022
“I miss it dearly to this day,” he said.
What Murray cherishes most from his #Pens career and his thoughts on how it ended, being a dad and more. https://t.co/8mV2ffYsgz
Murray made his NHL debut with the Penguins in 2015 after putting up spectacular numbers in the minors. A little over a year later, he was called back up to the NHL level, and that’s where things really took off for the now 27-year-old goaltender.
Murray would get his chance to lead the team when Marc-Andre Fleury was injured leading into the postseason in 2016, and he took advantage of the opportunity.
A 15-6 postseason record in 2016 on the way to the first of two back-to-back championship seasons set the table for repeat run in 2017.
Murray’s performance in the 2017 postseason wasn’t as decorated, but when it mattered, he couldn’t have performed any better.
Back-to-back shutouts in Game 5 and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and the Penguins were again champions.
The lightning that had been caught in a bottle during those Cup runs wore off rather quickly, however, as Murray struggled to regain his form in the following seasons, ultimately ending his time in Pittsburgh late in 2020, traded as a restricted free agent.
After being traded to Ottawa, Murray and the Senators would agree on a 4-year, $25 million contract. He has struggled to find his footing in Ottawa, having been demoted to the AHL before eventually being brought back to the NHL club.
When the Senators face the Penguins tonight, it will be Murray’s first time back in the Steel City.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was asked his thoughts on how he will feel about Murray returning to Pittsburgh, and per the usual for Sullivan, he did not fail at providing a good answer.
I asked Mike Sullivan if it might be a bit odd to see Matt Murray on the other side, whether it's in net or just on the bench, given his history coaching Murray in Pittsburgh and WBS: pic.twitter.com/urBABOMEyE— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) January 19, 2022
Anton Forsberg is expected to be the starting goaltender tonight for the Senators, but I would expect a special type of ‘welcome back’ from the Penguins for Murray — and along with that message should be a standing ovation from fans.
Without Matt Murray, the Penguins are likely still sitting with only three Stanley Cup banners in the rafters of PPG Paints Arena.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. tonight.