Evgeni Malkin may be the leagues MVP, Sidney Crosby is still the best player in hockey, and Phil Kessel is a two-time Stanley Cup champion.
Still, the Penguins most important player was back on the ice on Saturday after sustaining a concussion in late February. Is that Matt Murray's music?!
Before the concussion, Murray was 8-1-1 in his last ten games with a 2.51 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. He was playing his best hockey of the season.
Can the Penguins win the Stanley Cup without Matt Murray as their eraser? I'd be stupid to say "no." I wrote the Penguins off last year when they lost Kris Letang. Shame on me. But the Penguins chances are far better with the 23-year-old in the net.
Murray has a 1.95 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and four shutouts in 31 career postseason starts.
With Derick Brassard in the fold, the Penguins could conceivably lose Crosby or Malkin for a handful of games and survive. If Phil Kessel were to miss a game or two, the Penguins still have firepower.
If the Penguins lost Murray, I have no such confidence that they'd be able to get the job done with DeSmith or Jarry. It doesn't mean that they can't, but for my money Matt Murray is the player the Penguins can least afford to lose.
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