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Insider Only Game 3: A star is being born in Matt Murray, how Penguins stole Game 3, & Reactions to Letang Hit

Penguins Post-Game Buzz

So which media member will waste Mike Sullivan’s time tomorrow and ask him who the Penguins starting goaltender is for Game 4 with Marc Andre Fleury back?

Penguin fans and the entire hockey world are watching a star being born in goaltender Matt Murray. He’s not just the future for the Penguins, he’s the ‘Now’ for Pittsburgh.

Murray backstopped the Penguins to a 3-2 win in Game 3 as the Penguins have taken a 2-1 series lead. Murray was ambushed all game with the Capitals peppering him with 49 shots. He was sensational in making 47 saves. The Penguins absolutely stole this one.

The rookie netminder stopped the first 35 shots he faced before a blistering shot from Alex Ovechkin beat him on shot No. 36. Justin Williams than added a goal with 55 seconds left in regulation to cut the Penguins lead to 3-2.

Murray would shut the door in the waning seconds to close out the game and secure the 2-1 series lead.

Going into Game 3, Murray was not on a game-by-game basis type leash with Marc Andre Fleury back and he further entrenched himself as the current No. 1 goaltender.

There’s this continued talk from the Fleury crowd that Marc Andre gives the Penguins the best chance to win. Why because he won a Stanley Cup?

No one can take Marc Andre Fleury’s Stanley Cup away from him and the clutch moments he had during that run, but that was seven years ago and he’s a goaltender with a .906 career playoff save percentage.

You know who also has a career playoff save percentage of .906? Antti Niemi who guided the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2010.

Doesn’t mean you lock yourself into a belief that they’re the guy because of the past, some six-seven years ago.

The Penguins have something special in Murray and the coaches know it.

How the Penguins Stole Game 3

The Washington Capitals played their best game of the series. They out-shot Pittsburgh 49-23, out-attempted Pittsburgh a whopping 85-36, including 64-31 at even strength and had a +15 edge in scoring chances.

This was the second time this post-season when the Capitals lost after having a +48 edge in shot attempts, 81-27 in a Game 5 loss to the Flyers in Round 1.

“Murray was really good. He was the reason they [Pittsburgh] had success,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said of the game.

Trotz during his post-game press conference kept bringing up that this game reminded him of last years Islanders series where the Capitals went down 2-1 (won in seven games) but found their game in a Game 3 loss.

“There was a lot to like with our game. We’re looking forward to Game 4. Guys are excited,” said Trotz.

Game 4 will tell the story whether the President Trophy winners have awaken for good or this was a mirage.

What the Capitals ran into was great goaltending from Matt Murray and were haunted by key breakdowns the Penguins turned into goals.

In game 2, wrote about how the Penguins burned the Capitals into dominating the possession game by catching the Capitals with two or three forwards deep constantly that led to Washington never having the puck. Washington would send two forwards aggressively, Pittsburgh would easily beat the first wave of pressure making quick passes out of their end with the middle of the ice wide open.

Early into Game 3 tonight, Pittsburgh burned Washington on their opening goal with the Capitals doing exactly what they did wrong in Game 2. — Being too aggressive on the fore check and leaving the middle of the ice wide open. Kris Letang gets the puck up to Patric Hornqvist, leading to the goal.

Letang breakout

The Penguins scored 2 goals on their first three shots and what stood out with the two goals from Patric Hornqvist and Tom Kuhnhackl, they were playoff style type goals in going to the net and getting some lucky bounces — the type of goals that just didn’t happen for the Penguins in past playoff year disappointments —

Carl Hagelin’s goal late in the second period that ended up being the game winning goal, was the Penguins exploiting the Capitals bad defensemen, something talked quite a bit as a key coming into this series and something they’ve done much more effectively than the Capitals have against Pittsburgh’s lower end d-men.

With pressure from Hagelin, Nate Schmidt makes a brutal turnover through the middle of the ice, Pittsburgh quickly puts the puck in the back of the Capitals net.

Schmidt turnover

Hagelin goal

Will Letang be available for Game 4?


The NHL Department of Player Safety has confirmed they are reviewing Kris Letang’s hit and a hearing is inevitable.

“Things happen fast,” Letang said. “I know Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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