Big Game Murray shines vs Flyers
Surrendering 51 shots, the Penguins escaped Philadelphia with a 4-1 win thanks to a 50-save performance from Matt Murray who became the seventh goaltender in Penguins history to make 50 saves in a game. According to the Penguins, Murray also set a Penguins record for saves in a period with 28 in the second period vs the Flyers. Murray was dominant in the second period onslaught as Philadelphia outshot Pittsburgh 28-6 in the period, yet, Pittsburgh out-scored the Flyers 1-0 in the period.
“He played unbelievable,” Sidney Crosby said.
When Murray is locked in like this, he’s playing upright, playing big and his angles are near perfect.
That was all on display in a big time performance from Murray in another four point swing game against a division foe that is trailing Pittsburgh in the standings. It was a major swing game for Philadelphia that certainly played well enough to pull within four points of the Penguins, but will now enter the day eight points out of the final wildcard spot.
— The Penguins have mirrored a middle of the road team all season. Ups and downs, will take one step forward, two steps back, ect.
With 26 games remaining, the Penguins are playing at a 95 point pace.
The Rest of the Division:
New York Islanders – 107 point pace
Washington Capitals – 101 point pace
Columbus Blue Jackets – 97 point pace.
Carolina Hurricanes – 91 point pace
Elsewhere in the East:
Tampa Bay Lightning – 126 point pace
Toronto Maple Leafs – 106 point pace
Boston Bruins – 103 point pace
Montreal Canadiens – 101 point pace
Buffalo Sabres – 91 point pace
— A fair view on the Penguins is this:
As long as they get in the playoffs, you have to take them serious because the core can always get hot and go on a run, but more likely than not, there’s too many holes to overcome to look at Pittsburgh as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
And some of the holes are self inflicted from the coaching staff to management on decisions going back to the summer and to decisions playing out now.
Ahead of the trade deadline, scratching Teddy Blueger and not putting him in spots to see what you actually have continues to be type of decisions that are bringing this group down. Matt Cullen doesn’t need to be playing every game.
— The Penguins internally are thrilled about how well Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann are meshing so far in the room with team sources saying both are the type that leave their egos at home. Where Bjugstad fits best is going to be a daily topic but he has the type of character where it won’t matter to him if one game he’s centering the third line, playing out of position at left wing the next or at right wing the following night.
“He doesn’t need babied,” one source said of Blugstad.
While Penguins management envisioned Blugstad fitting on Sidney Crosby’s right wing and the way Mike Sullivan and Mark Recchi juggle the right wing spot on Crosby’s line, we’ll see it again at some point, I’ve heard some pushback from those in the know, including one former assistant coach who doesn’t think Crosby will be a Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"