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Matt Murray moves past not very good night for Penguins

SAN JOSE, Calif. – There were two evaluations of Matt Murray’s Game 3 for the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game in which he gave up three goals on 26 shots and lost in overtime to the San Jose Sharks. 

His teammates thought he was fine. “He was solid. He made some big saves for us. Murray’s great. He gave us a chance. He was solid for us,” said captain Sidney Crosby after the 3-2 loss.

His coach also thought he was fine. “I thought Matt was solid.  He made some big saves for us.  He gave us a chance to win tonight,” said Mike Sullivan.

Murray knows he could be better, giving up three goals of varying degrees of liability.

“I don’t want to say I didn’t give up a bad goal or had a bad game necessarily,” said Murray. “There’s always something you could have done [better], for sure. But you don’t dwell on it.”

On Joonas Donskoi’s game-winner in overtime, Murray thinks it was a combination of rolling puck and a fortunate bounce.

“I was reading the play well, and it’s a bit of a bad bounce,” he said. “It happened pretty quick. I know the puck was rolling. I don’t think he was going for the top corner. He was just trying to get it on net. The puck must have hit something, or it was rolling, and then it went off the side of my head.”

But it was the Joel Ward goal in the third period that undid the Penguins in Game 3. They had nearly killed off a four-minute San Jose Sharks power play, the result of a Nick Bonino high stick on Joe Thornton that cut him. The Penguins limited the Sharks’ chances, blocked shots and kept the puck out of danger. But then Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang got caught deep in the attacking zone on a shorthanded chance.

“We’re really not sure if Bones is coming out of the box, and [Letang] is breaking like that,” said Crosby, who said in hindsight a dump-in play there would have been preferable.

The Sharks came back down on a 3-on-2 rush. Ward didn’t waste time, or try to get fancy: He loaded up and fired a slap shot that simply got through Murray.

“Yeah, that was a bit of a weird one,” said Murray. “His release point was a little further back than most slap-shots there. It kinda dipped a little bit at the last second. I kind of waved at it. It’s not a good goal by any means, but I felt like I made a couple of good saves after that.”

On the Sharks’ first goal, Murray didn’t move until it was already behind him, thanks to a Letang screen on Justin Braun’s shot.

So it wasn’t his best effort for the Penguins, by his own admission. How does Murray move past it?

“You guys are asking this question every day. You move on,” said Murray.

Sullivan said Murray’s just born with that ability. “I think it's just his makeup. He's very calm, cool, collected.  He just goes about his business,” said Sullivan. “As I said all along here, he has a maturity level beyond his age. But certainly I think just his makeup serves him well when the stakes are high.”

How does Murray keep cool?

“It comes with experience. It comes with age,” said the 22-year-old rookie, somewhat amusingly.

“It’s one game. It’s a seven-game series. So we don’t really think about that. I think we outplayed them today. We were the better team. I feel good about our team going forward,” he said. 

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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