Reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins lose Matt Murray to concussion
Tristan Jarry, Casey DeSmith take over after trade deadline doesn't yield experienced goalie
A trade for goalie depth didn't materialize for general manager Jim Rutherford ahead of Monday's deadline, and that could prove costly for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan announced Tuesday morning that starting goalie Matt Murray will be sidelined indefinitely with a concussion after taking a puck to the head off a shot from teammate Olli Maatta at Monday's practice.
"We believe in the guys we have," Sullivan told reporters. "We've had some success with some inexperienced guys."
Backup Tristan Jarry and third-stringer Casey DeSmith were on the ice Tuesday working with Penguins goalie coach Mike Buckley prior to the team's morning skate.
Jarry sports a 10-4-2 record in 20 games this season for Pittsburgh with a 2.58 goals-against average and .916 save percentage, but the 22-year-old from Surrey, B.C., has never appeared in a NHL playoff game.
The 26-year-old DeSmith, whom the Penguins recalled from the American Hockey League on Monday, is 3-3-0 in seven games for Pittsburgh this season with a 2.23 GAA and .926 save percentage.
Reports suggested Rutherford was attempting to acquire Buffalo Sabres netminder Robin Lehner after Murray was injured in practice. Lehner has a 2.95 GAA and .910 save percentage for the 19-33-11 Sabres, who sit last in the Eastern Conference.
This is the fifth time Murray has missed time due to injury over his one-plus seasons in the NHL. In his first full season at the Penguins' starting goaltender, the 23-year-old native of Thunder Bay, Ont., has a 2.82 GAA and .909 save percentage over 37 starts. Those totals fall short of the 2.41, .923 totals he fashioned over 47 starts last season.
Murray missed seven games earlier this season with a lower-body injury and several more following the death of his father in January. In November, Sullivan downplayed questions about the six-foor-four, 178-pound Murray's durability, even though he missed last season with a hand injury and concussion.
He became the de facto No. 1 puckstopper when Pittsburgh lost Marc-Andre Fleury to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft last summer.
The Penguins entered Tuesday's game against visiting New Jersey clinging to third place in the Metropolitan Division, four points ahead of the Devils, who occupy the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.