Sullivan: Murray's ability to deal with adversity 'beyond his years'
A playoff defeat can be difficult to rebound from for any goaltender, let alone a rookie, but whenever Matt Murray has taken the ice following a loss in these playoffs, the 22-year-old has been simply dominant.
The Pittsburgh Penguins netminder is sporting a 5-0 record with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in the postseason after a defeat, and head coach Mike Sullivan discussed Murray's veteran-like demeanor with reporters Saturday.
"Well, I think he has a quiet confidence about him," Sullivan said. "I think he believes in himself. He knows he's a good goalie. He has shown a maturity level beyond his years in a lot of ways.
"But probably the most impressive way is just his ability to deal with any of the adversity that he faces along the way," he continued. "If one goes in that he thinks he should have had, he has the ability to stay in the moment, try to make the next save. He's a real competitor. We love that about him."
His ability to calm himself down was certainly evident in Game 5. After the Sharks took a quick 2-0 lead in the opening three minutes, Murray admitted he was "a little jittery" in the first period, but was proud of the way he and his team fought back, despite their 4-2 loss.
"I thought I played really well the last two periods," Murray said, according to Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "As a team, we really settled down after a tough start. We came back, stayed resilient."
Though he hasn't been tested near as much as opposing goalie Martin Jones in the series, Murray has been able quiet the San Jose Sharks' high-powered offense for the majority of the Final, and has backstopped his team within a victory of the Stanley Cup.
With a win in Game 6 on Sunday, Murray would not only clinch his franchise's fourth championship, but he would also break an NHL rookie record with 15 wins in a single playoff year - after starting just 13 games in the regular season.