(Toronto, ON) — Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is never one to give away too much information. Even for an exhibition game, Sullivan was customarily tight-lipped about his prized center, Sidney Crosby, but did share his plans for the Penguins goalie tandem.
Sullivan will start goalie Matt Murray in the exhibition game against the Philadelphia Flyers. However, backup or 1B goalie Tristan Jarry will also play approximately half of the game. Sullivan said the plan was to split the game between the two.
“What we’re trying to do with each and every one of our guys is to allow the opportunity to go through this process to capture their game,” Sullivan said. “This is a unique circumstance. Our goaltenders are no different than any other player on our team in that regard.”
This season, Jarry temporarily supplanted Murray as the Penguins starter, though Sullivan declined to confirm it publicly. Jarry led the league for much of the first half of the season in save percentage and goals-against average. Jarry finished the regular season with a 31-20-12 record, a 2.43 GAA and .921 save percentage.
Murray struggled to a .899 save percentage with a 20-11-5 record.
The most pressing issue surrounding the Penguins over the past 10 days has been the status of Sidney Crosby. Crosby left the team’s first intra-squad scrimmage on July 18 and practiced with the team only once last week. Though, Crosby did skate on his own several times.
This season Crosby missed 28 games due to a sports hernia and core muscle surgery. He still scored 47 points (16g, 31a) in just 41 games.
“We’re going to allow Sid to go through his normal gameday routine,” Sullivan conceded. However, the coach stopped short of placing Crosby in the lineup and said the final decision would be made close to game time.
The Penguins finished the regular season three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers in the Metro Division. Philadelphia’s 18-5-1 run to end the season launched them past the Penguins into second place in the division, while the Penguins lost eight of their last 11 games.
Also, on Tuesday morning, the Penguins released footage of the pre-game soccer ritual, though the unique quarters allowed them to play on what appears to be a racquetball court inside the bubble.
Gettin’ warm with some game day soccer ⚽️
Can you tell Tanev is an energy guy? pic.twitter.com/LGJ5855T6P
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 28, 2020
The Penguins play the Flyers at 4 p.m. For a full breakdown of the lines, game notes, and where to watch the game, see the PHN Gameday Preview here.