Dunlap: Murray Will Be Great In Playoffs - Barring One Thing

Teams will make an effort to be physical with Pens goalie

Colin Dunlap
April 10, 2018 - 1:17 pm

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Murray will be fine in the playoffs -- barring one thing. 

Matt Murray will prove to be his usual self in the postseason for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as he might let in a leaky goal here or there, but he will more than make up for it by making timely (and sometimes miraculous) saves --- barring one thing. 

Matt Murray is the least of Mike Sullivan's worries --- barring one thing. 

Matt Murray will be a total stud in the coming days --- barring one thing. 

Matt Murray, for all the ups and downs and trials and tribulations both on and off the ice this season will play his best hockey of this season from this point on, I'm certain of it --- barring one thing. 

That thing I should finally get to if I expect you to keep reading? Oh yes, that "thing" is if the Flyers, or any other opponent for that matter, elects to rough him up a bit. 

You see, in straight-up, head-up, open ice and pretty hockey game, I'm not at all worried about Murray and his ability to lead this hockey team. He has, and in my estimation will continue to, dazzle when the games are put on big stages. He's proven to be largest when the situation is enormous. For me, however, there is a worry that one of the books out on Murray might be to get in his kitchen even more than most goalies. This is a guy coming off a recent concussion who missed more time than most of us probably expected as a result and I would lay my last dollar down that part of the scouting report for the Flyers (and every other potential opponent) is to remind Murray you are there. And you do that by knocking him around some. 

Nothing overtly dirty and nothing over the line, but it seems as if from a tactical standpoint the opposition will make sure to have Murray understand they are there. Always there.

In his crease, breathing on him, making his life very uncomfortable. All this is true with any goaltender, but it feels like it is heightened when you have a guy coming off of injury and a guy who, to be frank and not always of his own doing or control, has suffered a lot of injuries in a short time. 

That's all why it is incumbent for the Penguins to keep people off their goalie; to make sure the Flyers know Murray isn't to be so much as breathed on the wrong way. It's also incumbent for the Penguins to try to limit that traffic in front of Murray to see to it none of those "accidental" bumps and collisions happen either. 

I have a sneaking suspicion there will be a point in the series that someone from Philadelphia makes a bit of a run at Murray. How the Penguins react --- and even if they can stop it proactively --- might end up being tantamount to overall success. 

Am I confident in Matt Murray headed into the playoffs? Absolutely, unequivocally, 100 percent so. I am more confident in him than any other goalie in the league. The guy is The King right now until someone knocks him and/or his team off. And to be frank, I don't see that much up for debate. In my eyes, the only thing that could jeopardize that is if the opposition gets physical with Murray. The Penguins need to make absolutely clear such a method won't be tolerated.