The New York Rangers have faced Marc-Andre Fleury 57 times in his NHL career, but there is a new sheriff in town. Getting to Matt Murray will be key for New York’s present and future.
Marc-Andre Fleury will man the pipes at least one time for the Penguins against the Rangers this season, but there is a question of how often.
Matt Murray took over as the future in the Penguins net after helping to defeat the Rangers in the 2016 NHL playoffs, posting a .955 save percentage against New York. With Murray the clear-cut future and the Expansion Draft looming, Fleury’s days in Pittsburgh appear to be numbered.
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It remains to be seen where Fleury will end up, but it would behoove the Rangers to learn how to solve the 22-year old Murray.. Murray’s performance in the playoffs must be an outlier rather than the norm, or New York will be in trouble.
Part of the success against Sidney Crosby’s Penguins has stemmed from making an elite goalie in Fleury look beatable. Fleury owns a .908 save percentage against New York, lower than his career .912 mark overall.
The memories range from exhilarating to disappointing for the Rangers against Fleury, as the past dozen seasons have seen it all, including this wild finish in 2010.
New York’s history against Fleury also includes consecutive series victories in 2014-15. Carl Hagelin, now Fleury’s teammate, provided a memorable moment.
Of course the Rangers have suffered their fair share of defeats at the hands of Fleury. Fleury has a 30-17-9 record against New York, including a 2008 playoff victory.
Looking back emphasizes the importance of learning how to compete with an often-played, top notch goaltender. In fact, Fleury is the ideal example to use for Murray.
Murray will be the goalie the Rangers face four or five times a season for the foreseeable future. Considering the current playoff format there will likely be some meetings in April or May as well.
The Rangers benefited greatly from learning how to exploit Fleury’s weaknesses and adapting to his adaptations. Murray has not yet fully developed, making him more open to adjustments against competition. Murray can use cracks in his armor exploited by the Rangers as part of his growth in the NHL.
Most importantly, however, the key is to make a top of the class Penguins squad look beatable. With Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malkin going nowhere, Pittsburgh is a lethal opponent. Murray proved an inexperienced goalie could lead the Penguins to success, making added experience concerning for opponents.
With Henrik Lundqvist in net, the Rangers will hold the advantage between the pipes. This Rangers team boasts depth last year’s team could not dream of, a necessity against the Penguins. The high-powered offense must be firing on all cylinders when either goalie is in net, but the time is now for success against Murray. Success against Murray now means potential mind-games and confidence for the future.