SAN JOSE — If Matt Murray was rattled, he sure hid it well in his post-game scrum with reporters. Pittsburgh’s 22-year-old rookie netminder answered questions coolly and calmly after his team’s 3-2 overtime loss Saturday at SAP Center. He didn’t seem to be bothered whatsoever, even about allowing that third-period goal to Joel Ward.
“Yeah, that was a bit of a weird one,” Murray said. “It kind of dipped a little bit at the last second and I just waved at it and missed it. Not a good goal by any means, but I thought I made a couple of good saves after that.”
And the winner by Joonas Donskoi?
“The puck either rolled or it hit something and it just went off the side of my head and just snuck by,” he said.
In other words, those things happen. You can’t control everything. No sense in dwelling on the past.
“After a goal goes in, you can’t take it out of the net, you can’t take it off the scoreboard, you move on,” he said.
It was almost like he couldn’t believe anyone would think otherwise. As if it was just that easy. Think positive. Stay in the moment. Just do it.
He was asked if that mindset was something that came naturally, or if he had to develop it.
“I guess it’s probably developed. I think it comes with experience, comes with age,” he said, possibly forgetting he’d never even been to California prior to traveling here for the Stanley Cup Final.
“I just don’t see the point in dwelling on a goal after it goes in. I felt really good all night, so I don’t want to say one bad goal makes it a bad game necessarily. I felt really good about my game. I made a lot of big saves when I thought we needed it. Unfortunately, that last one goes in, but I think as a whole team, we felt really good about our game.”
Not that his teammates don’t see room for improvement.
“We were good, but we weren’t great,” said defenseman Ben Lovejoy. “We’re a team that thrives on our speed through the neutral zone. We’ve figured it out. When we’re playing smart hockey, we’re making great decisions going through the neutral zone. We didn’t do quite enough of that tonight.”
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby questioned his own decision-making prior to the Ward goal, when Kris Letang‘s pass at the Sharks’ blue line went astray right before Nick Bonino‘s double minor was set to expire. A couple of seconds later, the puck was behind Murray.
“I was just trying to get my stick on the puck,” said Crosby. “It was kind of ahead of me. I saw Tanger to my left so I’m just trying to get something on it, try to poke it into an area.”
In hindsight, might he have tried to get it deep?
“Yeah, at that point, we’re really not sure if Bones is coming out of the box,” he said. “It’s so close, when he’s breaking like that. I guess you could go back and maybe get it deep, if I would’ve known there was two seconds left (in the penalty), maybe I’d try to corral it. It’s always easy after, but I think looking back, it would’ve been a better play at this point.”
But again, there’s no sense in dwelling on the past. The Penguins are still leading the series. They outshot the Sharks again tonight, this time by a 42-26 margin. Win Monday and they’ll head back to Pittsburgh with a chance to hoist the Cup.
“It’s all about the next game,” said Murray. “I think we outplayed them again tonight. We were the better team, so I really liked our game all around. I think we’re in a good spot here heading forward.”