Minus G Murray, Penguins visit Bruins
BOSTON — One win, especially one over a road-weary and injured team, does not mean a turnaround.
To do it, though, the Pens will have to survive without goaltender Matt Murray for a while. Murray, who has struggled through this 8-8-4 start, was placed on injured reserve Thursday with a lower body injury.
“This is something that he’s been dealing with for a couple of weeks, and the decision was made this morning [for him] to rest and see if that gives him an opportunity to heal,” coach Mike Sullivan said.
Murray has a 4.08 goals-against average and .877 save percentage for the Pens, who sit a point from the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The injury has lingered.
“He’s a real competitive guy,” Sullivan said. “He’s fighting through it trying to capture his game. He knows how important he is to our team and it just speaks volumes for the type of person that he is.”
Casey DeSmith was in the driver’s seat in Wednesday’s win and top prospect Tristan Jarry was recalled from the minors Thursday.
“Over 60 minutes, I think this is the best game we played all year,” Patric Hornqvist said after the Pens improved to just 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. “We didn’t give them much, and we controlled the territory all night. We were the better team.”
Sidney Crosby returned Wednesday after missing three games with an upper body injury and had a three-point night in the victory.
If the Penguins are looking for sympathy from the Bruins in the injury department, they won’t find it. The Bruins have been missing no fewer than six defensemen at the same time and captain Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron are both out for a month.
Injured defenseman Kevan Miller returned in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime loss in Detroit after missing 13 games with a broken hand. Fellow defenseman Charlie McAvoy is close to a return from a concussion.
The Bruins finished 1-1-2 on a four-game road trip and know they have to work without their two leaders for several weeks.
“We don’t really let that bother us. We saw how long Bergy’s going to be out, Zee – obviously they’re big keys in our team,” Tuukka Rask, who has come back strong from his short personal leave, said after Wednesday’s game. “But we can’t start thinking of that, we just have to move on and guys are coming in and they’re going to have great opportunities to grow for NHL players and make a difference.
“You’ve got to look at it as an opportunity. I think the experience now is going to pay [off] in the end. That’s kind of how we’re trying to build.”
The Bruins have swept five home games from the Penguins over the last three seasons.
While DeSmith was chased in just 5:27 — three goals on eight shots — in a start against the Bruins back on March 1, Jarry (14-6-2 with the Pens last season) is 0-1 in two games against Boston. He has allowed 10 goals on 52 shots.
If the Boston rotation continues, Jaroslav Halak will start Saturday night. Halak, who has taken the No. 1 job from Rask, is 7-2-2 on the season. His 2.07 GAA is third in the league, while his .935 save percentage is tied for second.
Lifetime against the Penguins, he is 8-6-2 with 2.50/.920 numbers and one shutout.