21-year-old rookie goalie Matt Murray posted his first NHL shutout to help the Pittsburgh Penguins clinch their tenth straight playoff berth in a 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon.
Murray is 6-2-1 in his nine NHL games played, having won his last four starts with the Penguins. He is 20-9-1 with a 2.10 goals-against average this season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. Murray was called up for his second NHL stint at the beginning of March, and may face the task of being Pittsburgh’s main goalie, after the announcement from the team that Marc-Andre Fleury has been diagnosed with his second concussion of the season with no projected return date.
“Personally, I really don’t like sitting on the bench, especially for long periods of time kind of like I have been lately. This is a great opportunity for me and I am very excited about it,” Murray said, when asked about the opportunity to have more starts in net in Fleury’s absence.
The Penguins, who are 45-25-8, have won five straight and 11 of their past 12 games. Since the December promotion of head coach Mike Sullivan from his position as coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton team, the team’s record is 30-15-5.
“I don’t think anyone expected to put as many together as we have here down the stretch but we worked hard and we’ve earned it,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said after the game at Barclays Center.
Pittsburgh’s five goals came from Oskar Sundqvist (his first NHL goal), Patric Hornqvist, Matt Cullen, Phil Kessel, and Tom Kuhhackl. Islanders goalie Jean-Francois Berube made 28 saves in the loss. Pittsburgh moved ahead of the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division, 18 points behind the President’s Trophy clinching Washington Capitals.