Penguins' Murray could win 2 Stanley Cups as a rookie

Charles LeClaire / USA Today Sports

Matt Murray is close to accomplishing something that has never occurred in NHL history and is unlikely to ever happen again: winning the Stanley Cup twice as a rookie goaltender.

The Pittsburgh Penguins netminder backstopped the team to a championship in 2016, posting a record of 15-6 with a .923 save percentage along the way. However, by virtue of the fact he had appeared in only 13 regular season games prior to the postseason, he maintained his rookie status entering 2016-17.

From the NHL's guidelines on Calder Trophy eligibility:

To be considered a rookie, a player must not have played in more than 25 NHL games in any preceding seasons, nor in six or more NHL games in each of any two preceding seasons.

Only four rookie goalies had ever led their teams to a championship pre-Murray: Ken Dryden (1971 Canadiens), Patrick Roy (1986 Canadiens), Cam Ward (2006 Hurricanes), and Antti Niemi (2010 Blackhawks).

None of those players and teams, however, were able to follow up their performances with a repeat Stanley Cup victory.

That's the opportunity presented to Murray, who was handed back the starting job after Marc-Andre Fleury - who had won the team's first nine playoff games - was benched during a rough outing against Ottawa in the Eastern Conference Final.

Since returning from injury, Murray has gone 3-1 with a .946 save percentage, regaining a foothold on the gig, barring any severe dips in health and performance.

The Nashville Predators await, and with four more wins, Murray will set himself apart as a very special rookie goalie.

Penguins' Murray could win 2 Stanley Cups as a rookie
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