TORONTO – The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without goalie Matt Murray, who led them to the Stanley Cup championship last postseason, after he suffered a broken hand during the World Cup of Hockey.
GM Jim Rutherford said Murray, who was playing for the under-23 Team North America, will miss “three to six weeks.”
Murray was pulled from North America’s 4-3 loss against Russia on Sept. 19, playing 27 minutes and 24 seconds, giving up four goals on 19 shots. Initially, coach Todd McLellan said Murray had “jammed his thumb” but was “very capable of playing” in their next game. Murray wasn’t dressed for their game against Sweden to complete pool play on Sept. 21.
After playing 13 games in the regular season for Pittsburgh, Murray was given the crease during the Penguins’ first-round series against the New York Rangers due to an injury to goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. He won his first three appearances, and ended up with 15-6-0 record in their playoff run to the Stanley Cup championship, posting a 2.08 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.
Ironically, were it not for that Cup run, Murray might not have been the starter for Team North America. “I don’t know,” he said before the tournament, “[John Gibson] has a lot more NHL experience. We had three good goalies.”
The silver lining, obviously, is that the Penguins have Fleury to fall back on, who had a 2.29 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in winning 35 games for the Penguins last season before concussion issues took him out of the lineup.
With the Penguins’ home opener on Oct. 13 against the Washington Capitals, Fleury could get the glut of the early work for the Penguins, further complicating an already delicate goalie situation in Pittsburgh between a well-liked veteran and Murray, who is eligible for the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year this season.
Well, at least Mike Sullivan won’t have to stress over naming a start for opening night.
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