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Murray Progressing From Concussion; Will Travel with Team

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Pittsburgh Penguins
Matt Murray: Photo by Michael Miller

CRANBERRY TWP., Pa. — Penguins goaltender Matt Murray went through a full-contact practice with no apparent issues on Friday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. But it remains unclear when the 24-year-old netminder will once again see the ice for a game.

Murray suffered a concussion in practice on Monday that kept him out of Thursday’s 4-2 win over defending Western Conference champion Las Vegas.  It is the third such injury for Murray in a 30-month span.

“I feel pretty good,” Murray said. “Today I got things going in the right direction getting a full practice in, so everything’s feeling pretty good.”

It is not clear whether Murray, DeSmith or Jarry will start against the Canadiens, though all three will be making the trip to Montreal. However, Murray split time with Tristan Jarry in the backup’s net at one end of the ice during the hour-long workout prior to the team’s departure for its game at Montreal on Saturday. Casey DeSmith manned the starter’s goal at the other end and took the brunt of the shots.

“We don’t make lineup decisions the day before a game,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Murray has dealt with a host of injuries since he first broke into the NHL in 2016. But having three concussions in a such a short period of time is a cause for concern.

“Obviously he practiced full with the team and we thought he had a strong practice and we’ll see how he responds, but he’s status quo at this point and we’ll make decisions on a day-to-day basis,” Sullivan said. “I don’t know what the specific details are of the protocol, but whatever they are I can assure you the medical staff .goes through them”

When Murray was initially injured the focus immediately went to DeSmith, who had three days to prepare for his first start of the season. The 27-year-old didn’t disappoint as he stopped 35 of 37 shots against the Golden Knights.

“He played awesome,” Murray said. “I thought the whole team played a pretty solid game and Casey kept us in it.”

Jarry was injured at the end of training camp and was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. He did not play a game for the Baby Penguins before he was recalled on a day the organization’s top minor-league affiliate ironically had a practice scheduled at the Penguins facility.

In 23 starts filling in for Murray last season, the 23-year-old Jarry was 14-7-2 with a 2.78 goals-against average, a .907 save percentage and led the team with two shutouts.

If Murray remains out on Saturday, DeSmith will likely get the start at the Bell Centre and Jarry would be the backup. Murray’s last game was at home against Montreal on Saturday when he gave up five goals on 24 shots in a 5-1 loss to the Canadiens.

Still, Murray remains confident and is awaiting final medical clearance from team doctors before he return to game action.

“It’s the same as yesterday,” Murray said. “I haven’t talked to Dr. V. (Dharmesh Vyas) today yet and I’m going to see him right after this.”

 

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