Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray is listed as week-to-week thanks to a lower body injury, the team announced Tuesday.
The netminder left Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers after Jakub Voracek collided with him on a breakaway. The Penguins pulled off the 5-4 win in overtime, but losing their goalie in the middle frame was a steep price to pay.
“Injuries are a part of the game,” coach Mike Sullivan said Tuesday. “Matt’s a young guy. He’s only going to get stronger and he’s only going to get more durable with each game that he plays.”
The 23-year-old from Thunder Bay is 11-7-1 this season and his Pittsburgh Penguins are 13-10-3, good for fifth in the Metropolitan Division. It’s not the position the club wants to be in.
Voracek hit Murray after he lost an edge on a breakaway chance, forcing the netminder’s leg into the goal post. Murray was on the ice for several minutes before he was finally helped off the ice. He favoured his right leg on his way to the locker room.
Tristan Jarry was able to pull off the win in relief and it looks like his workload is about to get bigger.
The 22-year-old rookie is 2-0-2 this season, with a 2.83 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. He’s seen limited action with the Penguins.
Pittsburgh has also called up goalie Casey DeSmith from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He’s seen a dozen AHL games this season and has nine wins, with a 2.29 goals against average and a .924 save percentage.
“The shock’s not quite as big coming up the second time,” DeSmith said. “If I get in a game again, I’m sure the nerves won’t be quite as tough on me.”
The 26-year-old debuted in the NHL in late October, allowing three goals on 15 shots as part of a 7-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Murray was in goal to start that contest and he allowed four goals on nine shots.
The Penguins are doing what’s expected and putting on a brave face, but no team wants to lose their starting goaltender. Murray’s injury looks pretty bad and the weeks could stretch out to a significant chunk of time, which puts a lot of pressure on Jarry and DeSmith. With Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes hanging in the balance, this is a critical time for the club.