Penguins Notebook: Why Sullivan Went Back to Jarry; Won’t Change System
The last few days have been interesting times within the Pittsburgh Penguins fanbase. Coach Mike Sullivan admitted that Jeff Carter and Brian Dumoulin are public targets. but disagreed they’ve been at fault and defended their place in the lineup. The Penguins lost a pair of games to the New York Rangers and didn’t look good doing it. And starting goalie Tristan Jarry was pretty good in the first loss, but quickly pulled after allowing four goals in the second.
Jarry will start Monday against the Ottawa Senators. He has been pulled three times in his past six starts and four times in his past 11.
The question is simple, and Sullivan gave a genuine answer: Why is he turning to Jarry again Monday despite the struggles?
“There are a lot of things that the coaching staff talks about. At the end of the day, Jarrs is a really good goalie, and we know what he’s capable of,” said Sullivan. “And I think he’s a lot closer than what the numbers look like. And so we feel he’s a guy that we’re going to need down the stretch.”
If you permit my translation, the Penguins are trying to push Jarry back into form because he’s their best goalie, and they will keep trying because they think he’s close; they hope it clicks soon, and they’ll have a No. 1 goalie again.
Jarry has allowed four goals in five of his past seven games, during which he has an .842 save percentage and 2-2-1 record.
Casey DeSmith has not allowed more than two goals in his past four appearances, but three of those games were relief appearances. In the past five games, including two starts, DeSmith has a .927 save percentage and a 2.07 GAA.
Jarry allowed four goals in 26 minutes Saturday and four in 33 minutes against the Montreal Canadiens last Tuesday.
“You know, I’m not going to say these decisions are easy, by any stretch,” Sullivan said. “They’re always difficult decisions. We believe we have two capable guys, but we believe Jarry is a guy that’s important to us.”
The team placed Marcus Pettersson on LTIR, retroactive to Saturday. Pettersson joined Dmitry Kulikov, Jeff Petry, and Jan Rutta as defensemen who are out.
The Penguins recalled Taylor Fedun on an emergency basis. Fedun has 127 games of NHL experience, but hasn’t played in the league since the 2019-20 season, when he was with the Dallas Stars.
The defense pairings will include Mark Friedman, Chad Ruhwedel, and Fedun.
Will Sullivan alter the Penguins’ system to accommodate the depleted blue line?
“Completely changing how we’re going to play at this particular time of year might create more problems, with respect to just allowing our players to play an instinctive mindset,” Sullivan said. “That’s not to say we’re incapable of playing a more calculated game. And I think that’s an important aspect of winning anyway — making sure that you play a calculated game. regardless of your systems.
“So that’s an area where we’re trying to improve and get better, regardless of who’s in our lineup.”