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Friday, September 9, 2016

Penguin's Youth on Full Display in World Cup Prelims

Cool, Calm and Collected- Matt Murray shines on World Stage:

Team North America is composed of some of the best young talent in and around the NHL. All under the age of 24, future stars such as Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Jack Eichel showed last night why Team NA should not be taken lightly.

With no lack of talent and speed, Team North America routed Team Europe to a 4-0 shutout win. Between the pipes for that victory was non-other than our own young phenom goaltender, Matt Murray.

Suited up in all black from mask to pads (to "...symbolize Team NA's status as the underdog" of the tournament), Murray picked up where he left off in June after his Pittsburgh Penguins' raised the Stanley Cup.

When interviewed, Murray admitted to feeling "...pretty shaky at first. Dropping pucks and my puck handling was bad. It's something that will come back with time."

Murray also went on to say that he felt better as the game went on and was otherwise happy with how he performed as well as how the team performed overall.

In this preliminary game against some of Europe's best youngsters, Murray saved all 23 shots on goal that he faced. Not a bad showing at all for a 22-year old who was called up to the NHL late in the regular season. It goes without saying that much is expected of Matt Murray (who will be sharing duty with goalie, John Gibson, from Pittsburgh, PA). Murray may be one of the most important pieces to Team NA's roster and their chances of progressing deep into the World Cup tournament.

*Fun Fact- Team North America has only 2 Stanley Cup winners on it's bench. Obviously there is Matt Murray of our Pittsburgh Penguins. The other is another Pittsburgh native; Brandon Saad of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Finnish Them- Maatta scores OT winner:

Olli Maatta is no stranger to adversity. At only 20 years of age, he was chosen as a defenseman on Team Finland despite everything he has gone through in his young career (cancer, broken shoulder, late season injury during the series with the Washington Capitals, just to name a few).

He put all the doubters to bed while playing in his teams prelim game yesterday afternoon against Sweden (which boasts two of Maatta's fellow team mates in Carl Hagelin and Patric Hornqvist).

With the game tied 2-2 and overtime winding down, Maatta takes a pass from forward Aleksander Barkov and snaps a wrist shot past netminder, Jhonas Enroth. A beauty if there ever was one.

Both of these youngsters are showing not only their own talents, but what their home team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, have to their disposal in the years to come.

Other Notes:

The other game of Thursday's beginning prelims passed without notice as Russia defeated the Czech Replubic 4-3.  Penguins star Evgeni Malkin did not factor in the decision.

Tonight at 7pm EST Team USA takes on Team Canada as Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan will assistant coach against star Sidney Crosby.  It can be seen on ESPNU or the WatchESPN app.

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