Penguins’ goaltending problems hurt season

Postseason chances in doubt

Matt+Murray%2C+pictured+here+after+the+2017+Stanley+Cup+victory+parade+in+Pittsburgh%2C+has+been+injured+this+season.+Goaltending+woes+may+be+the+reason+for+lackluster+performance+from+the+team.
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Penguins’ goaltending problems hurt season

Matt Murray, pictured here after the 2017 Stanley Cup victory parade in Pittsburgh, has been injured this season. Goaltending woes may be the reason for lackluster performance from the team.

Matt Murray, pictured here after the 2017 Stanley Cup victory parade in Pittsburgh, has been injured this season. Goaltending woes may be the reason for lackluster performance from the team.

Allison Roup

Matt Murray, pictured here after the 2017 Stanley Cup victory parade in Pittsburgh, has been injured this season. Goaltending woes may be the reason for lackluster performance from the team.

Allison Roup

Allison Roup

Matt Murray, pictured here after the 2017 Stanley Cup victory parade in Pittsburgh, has been injured this season. Goaltending woes may be the reason for lackluster performance from the team.

Josh Selzer, North Campus Staff

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The Penguins are about a quarter of the way through the 2018-2019 season and, at this point, it is hard to tell how they are doing to do and where they will finish.

There have been several times so far this season where the Penguins have looked like the hockey team that won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017, but there have also been times where the Penguins have looked like a team that will miss out on the playoffs in 2019. At this point in the season, one could say that they have played more like a non-playoff team, but given that the Penguins have won two Stanley Cups and made it to the divisional round once under Coach Mike Sullivan, what could be the cause of this?

There are many reasons for the team’s lackluster performance so far this season, but one stands out that has been a problem not just this season, but in past seasons as well: inconsistent goaltending.
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray came in for the playoffs of the 2015-2016 season and led the Penguins to the first of two consecutive Stanley Cup championships. Everybody thought he was in for a stellar career.

However, in the playoffs of the 2016-2017 season, Marc Andre Fleury, now goalie for the Vegas Golden Knights, led the Penguins through the first two rounds of the playoffs, and Murray played in the last two rounds to secure the second championship. One could argue that the Penguins would not have won that cup if Fleury had not played the first two rounds.

In the playoffs for the 2017-2018 season, Murray did not look like his best quality of play due to some of the goals he gave up that probably could have been stopped. This hurt the Penguins when they needed a stop from him, and so far this season, Murray’s goals allowed average is 4.08, which is horrible for an experienced goalie.

Now that Murray is on injured reserve, Casey Desmith is the starting goaltender with Tristian Jarry as his backup. The fact that the Penguins now have a backup goaltender as a main starter is not a good sign for them, even though Desmith’s goals allowed average is significantly better than Murray’s. While Desmith has proven to be a solid goaltender, he still can have his off days. In short, we just never know what kind of goaltending we will see from a Penguins netminder.

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