NHL Network's Dave Reid: Matt Murray's Play A Concerning Difference From Past Cup Teams

Reid questions Murray's health and performance for the playoffs

Matt Koll
March 27, 2018 - 11:39 am
Matt Murray save

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It's that time of year in Pittsburgh where we look to see just how many regular season games are left until we finally get into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Former NHL player and NHL Network analyst Dave Reid joined The Fan Morning Show on Tuesday and said that he loves the Penguins chances at a 3rd straight Stanley Cup.

"There's too much experience with this team," said Reid. "Bunch of Hall of Famers. Two Cups in their back pocket. They're just waiting to crank it up another notch. There's a time when superstars know it's time and they step on the gas a little bit more and away they go."

Reid does have one glaring concern with this team though heading into the playoffs and it's between the pipes.

"Matt Murray's stats have been struggling throughout the course of the year with injuries and ups and downs, that would be one thing that I would say is the difference in the last few years," said Reid. "Matt's gotta kind of ramp his game up and it's not always that easy to do as a goaltender. That would be one thing I'd say is the only concern when I'm looking at the overall team."

Reid also confirmed that other teams may look at Murray's health issues and try to rattle his cage.

"When I played, a key focus was to make the goaltender's life difficult," said Reid. "Not physcially difficult, but if you're close to the crease, you might want to be on top of him. If a defenseman is leaning on you, then he's probably going to make sure he pushes you down into the goaltender. The 'accidental on-purpose' contact is ramped up in the playoffs."

"There's no question he'll be a target. Team are going to be driving the net hard. Everybody drives the net but it's those little extras and the nonchalant plays [like] instead of stopping a foot in front of the crease you stop a foot in the crease. We'll take the odd whistle or maybe the odd goaltender interference or something like that over the course of a seven game series to make sure that this goaltender is aware that we're coming," said Reid. 

"It's more of a mind game than a physical game but absolutely it's something that every team does and if they know the goaltender has had a history of injuries or has been struggling with contact or screens in front, then absolutely you want to get in his kitchen."        

He says that a team must have very good speed and play a very disciplined style to knock off the two-time defending champion Penguins. He believes Boston and New Jersey (not Tamp Bay or Washington) pose as the biggest matchup problems for Pittsburgh come playoff time.

You can hear the entire interview with Dave Reid on The Fan Morning Show below.