CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. – If it wasn’t clear before, it became evident Monday that the Pittsburgh Penguins have turned to goaltender Casey DeSmith as the hot hand while, in the team’s estimation, Matt Murray is struggling.
Coach Mike Sullivan declined to say whether DeSmith will make his third straight start Tuesday when the Penguins play at New Jersey. DeSmith was off the ice before Murray at the end of practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, and he is coming off a 39-save shutout Saturday in a 4-0 win over Arizona that broke the team’s five-game losing streak.
Sullivan said Murray can draw on the mental toughness that has become one of his identifying traits as he works through a rough patch. Murray is 4-4-1. His save percentage, .886, and goals-against average, 3.87, are the worst of his career – which isn’t extensive at age 24 but includes two Stanley Cup titles.