Some fans probably forgot about goaltender Casey DeSmith after Matt Murray has started the past nine games, but he reminded people of the impact he can provide to the marching Penguins. DeSmith showed no rust in a 5-0 shutout of the Buffalo Sabres tonight and helped his team maintain pace in Metropolitan Division after the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals won tonight as well.
Despite the lack of starts and playing a “trap” game Thursday night, Desmith was impressive and made momentum shifting saves throughout the game. Head coach Mike Sullivan noticed.
“[Casey] made some big saves at key times for us that gave us a chance to keep the lead and gave us a chance to get out legs going,” said Sullivan following the game. “I thought it took us a little bit to get our legs in this game so he gave us the chance to get our legs and then we started to play a little bit, but I thought he made some big saves in the first half for sure.”
DeSmith saved 26 shots for his third shutout of the year. The 27-year old goaltender, after logging significant time in Nov. and Dec., has been relegated to the bench following Matt Murray’s strong play of yet. DeSmith showed excitement to be back between the pipes.
“Its huge, It gets frustrating obviously,” said DeSmith. “It is fun to sit there and get alot of wins, but it nice to be in there and be part of the team.”
After a long layoff from seeing game action the potential was there for DeSmith to be out of sync, but its a fighters attitude that kept him ready while watching from the bench.
“I just think you have to go for it,” said DeSmith when asked about being prepared. “That is what I talked about tonight, just going for it and don’t overthink. Simplify everything and play fast, and play my own game. I can’t do anything different because I haven’t played in a while and thankfully I was able to do that tonight.”
In the 60 minutes, 26 save effort DeSmith said he felt comfortable and didn’t feel out of practice.
“Maybe the first couple shots came a little bit quicker than I’m used too because game action is a bit more different,” said DeSmith. “There is alot more traffic, stuff like that, but after the first couple minutes I was fine.”
DeSmith improved his record to 15-11-5 on the year with the win, tonight. The victory was made sweeter by a shutout, DeSmith appreciated the team effort to make it happen.
“The teams been playing awesome obviously and they didnt do anything different,” exclaimed DeSmith. ” They were great again tonight so it was defienely a team shutout and a team win.”
DeSmith continues his strong play this year and received a three-year, $3.75 million contract extension with Pittsburgh on January 11, 2019.