So it goes without saying that tonight is probably the most important game in Murray’s career. I realize the Pens are up 2-1 and he is the Pens Starter going forward. With that said, giving up 5 goals in the last game against Nashville has to be something he rebounds from.
In the past, Murray has Been praised for coming back from games like this. Not to say he has had to do it often, just the fact that he does it well. He has only lost back to back starts once in his career and that happened in January. Though, he has only started the equivalent of a full season so far in his career.
Of the 5 goals given up, only two could you say were bad. He gave up 1 breakaway or odd man rush attempt, although he was put in that position 3-5 times. The Pens defense has to get better tonight to help him out. If they put him in that spot again, we could see another rough game. A guy can only be put in that vulnerable of a position so many times before goals are let in. The Staunch fans of Marc-Andre Fleury say that all the time and it is true.
I do not think Murray is in danger of losing his job by any stretch. But If the Pens lose and a bad goal or two gets by, or something on the glove side gets through.. this is what will happen.
Social media will explode. Local talk show hosts will be pushing the Goalie controversy button. All the Fleury or bust fans will be screaming from the highest mountaintops. National analysts will jump back on the Fleury train… at least for a day or so. Dogs and cats living together, it’s mass hysteria. (Great quote from the Original Ghostbusters, Thank you Bill Murray) And after all of that, Murray will start game five. Though, with a caveat. His game will be under that same microscope for the rest of the series. If in fact he has a bounce back game, regardless of outcome, the emphasis will go away from him and back on the rest of the team.
After going up 2-0 in the series, if the Pens were to lose and it could be in any way goalie related, it will mark a significant but negative event in Murrays career. One that he will answer for, for years to come. This fan base is relentless when it comes to certain players and positions.
As for the Pekka Rinne: In the game on Saturday, we saw Pekka Rinne make a key save on Phil Kessel when Pittsburgh was up. It was after that point, that we saw Rinne start to get more comfortable then we have seen him all series long. He made key saves, some of which were really good. Though, there were some rebounds that the Pens were not in position for that they need to take advantage of tonight. This game will be just as telling from the Rinne Stand point as Murray. If the guy that shows up to play in goal is the same that showed up in games 1 and 2, then the Pens will win. If this is the Pekka Rinne that guided the Predators to the Finals that shows up tonight, it will be a difficult task for the Pens.
We will soon see.