That bounce. From 60 feet away, Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog chipped the puck high into the air towards the Pittsburgh Penguins net and goalie Matt Murray.
It should have been a routine play in the Penguins 4-3 win at the Pepsi Center. Murray was to cover the puck to get a whistle or play it to his defensemen for a breakout. That’s how it usually happens.
However, on Friday night, the puck didn’t cooperate. Colorado forward Gabriel Landeskog merely chipped the puck high into the air towards the Penguins net as a simple dump-in. However, as the fluttering puck landed on the ice, it didn’t continue in a straight line. Like a movie special effect or a bullet in Dallas, it made a sharp turn. The puck kicked to the right by a couple of feet and bounced past Murray.
The goal was scored in the waning minutes of the second period and gave Colorado a 2-1 lead. Penguins center Jared McCann described it as a crappy bounce.
Matt Murray had a tough time describing it. He exhaled with disbelief and a small laugh.
“There’s nothing…I mean…I can’t really…That’s a tough read. I can’t really expect that kind of bounce,” Murray said. “I’m just trying to get out and play it. Settle it down so our D can make the play, and it bounces sideways on me. I just brushed it off.”
Colorado also scored in the final 30 seconds of the game to force overtime. Fortunately for the Pittsburgh Penguins, McCann scored the game-winning goal and the fluky goal was only a footnote in an otherwise good night.
“It was another gritty, hard win. We just stayed resilient,” Murray said who won his third straight start.
It was the second win in a row for the Penguins and third win in their last four games.
Murray’s record improved to 13-6-4. He has posted a save percentage above .900 in three straight games for only the second time this season. Overall, the two-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie has a .896 save percentage and a 2.91 goals against average.