Douglas Murraysson — er Murray — makes his mark in Pittsburgh

When you think about typical standout Swedish defencemen, you tend to think of dynamic offensive threats Nicklas Lidstrom, Erik Karlsson, and for those of an earlier generation, Borje Salming.

You don’t automatically think of Pittsburgh Penguins horse Douglas Murray.

When you think about typical standout Swedish defencemen, you tend to think of dynamic offensive threats Nicklas Lidstrom, Erik Karlsson, and for those of an earlier generation, Borje Salming.

You don’t automatically think of Pittsburgh Penguins horse Douglas Murray.

Murray’s rather Canadian-sounding name and his style of game – an in-your-face, shot-blocking, tough-as-nails, stay-at-home type – doesn’t exactly fit the stereotype.

Just ask Deryk Engelland, Murray’s playing partner.

“When I first saw him play a few times in San Jose, I would not have guessed he was from Sweden,” said Engelland. “It’s just his size (6-3, 245 pounds) and his physical mentality and his toughness. He plays with an edge and that’s what he needs to do. He deters guys from coming to the front of the net and from going in the corners.”

Murray, 33, who came to the Penguins from San Jose in a trade deadline deal, used all of above strengths to help shut down the Senators in Game 1, ending up with five blocked shots He also provided unexpected offence, setting up the third period shorthanded goal by Pascal Dupuis, a play which began because of sound defensive play by Murray inside the Penguins blueline.

Murray says playing against the Senators and a crew of Swedes which includes Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg serves as motivation.

“I know Karlsson and Alfredsson a little bit and I played with Alfredsson at the Olympics,” he said. “When you see a guy like Alfredsson, you’ve got a lot of respect for him, but that doesn’t mean you treat him differently on the ice. It makes it a little easier when the pride gets involved. I knew all the (Swedish) guys in Detroit better when I played out there. Those games were always easy for me to get up for. it’s like when you grow up wrestling and hitting your brother. I don’t have any problem playing against friends.”

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