The Pittsburgh Penguins will need to attempt and shake from the early season funk without goaltender Matt Murray.
The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions placed Murray on injured reserve Tuesday with a lower-body injury.
Coach Mike Sullivan predicted Murray “week to week” following the 23-year-old left Monday night’s 5-4 overtime win over Philadelphia in the second period after a collision with Flyers ahead Jakub Voracek.
Voracek lost his edge whilst completing a breakaway attempt and crashed right into Murray, forcing the rear of the goaltender’s right leg to the goal post.
Murray was on the ice for several minutes before making his way to the seat and limping down the runway into the locker room while favouring his right leg.
Tristan Jarry came in and stopped 8 of 10 shots as the Penguins rallied from a two-goal deficit to win. Jarry, a 22-year-old rookie, is 2-0-2 with a 2.83 goals-against typical in limited play this year. He’s expected to take over the majority of the workload during Murray’s absence. Pittsburgh starts a home-and-home series with Buffalo on Friday. The Penguins called up Casey DeSmith in their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to function as Jarry’s backup.
“It is really pretty crazy after being goalie partners this past year,” DeSmith stated. “It is kind of weird just 1 year later (we are in the NHL). It happened pretty fast. I’m pleased to be down here with someone I am familiar with.”
Murray is 11-7-1 with a 2.95 GAA this season. He helped the Penguins become the first franchise in almost 20 years to win consecutive Stanley Cups in June and became the de facto No. 1 goaltender when Pittsburgh dropped Marc-Andre Fleury to Vegas from the expansion draft over the summer.
Pittsburgh acquired veteran Antti Niemi to function as Murray’s backup, but the experiment lasted less than a month before Niemi was waived because of bad play.
Sullivan downplayed questions regarding the slender 6-foot-4, 178-pound Murray’s durability. Murray missed time with a hand injury and after a concussion. His 21 appearances this year are tops in the NHL.
“Injuries are a part of the game and Matt’s a young man,” Sullivan said. “He is only going to get more powerful, he is only going to have more lasting with every game he plays and I believe he will be OK.”
The Penguins are tied with Washington for fourth at the Metropolitan Division over a quarter of the way through this season. The group did get some great news on Tuesday. Center Evgeni Malkin is scheduled to go to Buffalo and might be accessible after sitting out the previous four games with an at-fault accident.
Defenceman Ian Cole also skated on Tuesday. Cole was a healthy scratch on Monday night amid reports that the team is trying to trade him.
“He is a part of our team, he is a valuable piece, he is a significant part of our baseball team,” Sullivan said. “Just because a player comes out of this lineup does not mean we do not appreciate what he brings.”
Cole admitted he’d like to be playing and believes the Penguins family.
“I try to look at it as unfortunate situation, you may attempt to take advantage of and get better or you can mope around and be miserable and be a diversion for your group,” Cole said.
Courtesy: The Globe And Mail