Blogging Platfrm


Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better goaltending?

Leading up to Monday's Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks — on the ice and off the ice.


As of early February, Matt Murray was still playing AHL hockey for the Penguins’ minor league affiliate in Wilkes-Barre. A little over two months later he was the team’s starting goalie in the playoffs. Now he’s potentially dethroned Marc-Andre Fleury as the team’s No. 1 going forward.

It’s been an interesting year for the Penguins in net. Fleury started 58 games and had another solid season posting five shutouts and a .927 even strength save percentage. But in early April he suffered his second concussion of the season, an injury that lingered into the postseason. 

Murray backed up for the team’s opening round playoff game against the New York Rangers, but eventually assumed the starting job and ran with it, all while Fleury recovered. But when Fleury was fully healthy, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan stuck with the 21-year-old rookie as he guided the team through three rounds.

In 15 starts this postseason, Murray has recorded a .935 even strength save percentage and been a steady presence in goal as the Penguins advanced to the Final. His teammates and head coach consistently cite his calm, cool demeanor which has helped lead to his success.

Every game Murray starts is the biggest one of his career, and now there’s no bigger stage than the Stanley Cup Final. But despite the importance of each game, he’s yet to look flustered or affected by the pressure. That will be vitally important over the next two weeks.


Trading for Martin Jones to replace Antti Niemi was a gamble by Sharks GM Doug Wilson last summer. Heading into the 2015-16 season, the netminder had only 29 starts under his belt during two years with the Los Angeles Kings.

Was that worth a first-round pick? Wilson thought so and even furthered his faith in Jones as the team’s goaltender by inking him to a three-year, $9 million deal. In return, Jones repaid his GMs faith with a .925 even strength save percentage and six shutouts during the regular season.

In the postseason, Jones has been just as good with an .927 ESSV and three shutouts, which included Game vs. the Nashville Predators in Round 2 and back-to-back showings in Games 2 and 3 against the St. Louis Blues in the conference final.

ADVANTAGE: Even. Once you get into the playoffs a hot goalie can take you places. For the Sharks, Jones has been playing well since the start of the season, helping them get back into the postseason. The Penguins have benefited from Murray’s play once Fleury went out with injury. Sullivan could have easily gone back to his regular No. 1, but it was clear Murray was the choice to help the team continue on their championship path. 



Post a Comment


Popular Posts

Blog Archive