The slumping Pitsburgh Penguins have been hit with another injury, as head coach Mike Sullivan said goalie Matt Murray has been placed on the IR and could miss several weeks of action.
Josh Getzoff of PensTV reported the news.
#Pens HCMS: Matt Murray is going to be out “longer-term” with a lower-body injury. Been dealing with this for the last couple of weeks. Evaluated this morning by team doctors. “This was not something that we expected”— Josh Getzoff (@PensJG) November 22, 2018
The Penguins just got captain Sidney Crosby back on Thursday - a 5-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. Crosby had missed the team's last three games, but he returned in time to help Pittsburgh end its four-game losing streak.
Murray backstopped the Penguins to consecutive Stanley Cup Championships in 2016 and 2017. But his career has been completely marred by injuries, as Murray missed time early in the season with a concussion.
On top of that, Murray missed 12 games last season because of a broken hand. He also dealt with a concussion and both upper and lower-body injuries. The year before he missed more than half of the 2017 postseason with a lower-body injury.
The good news for the Penguins is that backup Casey DeSmith has actually been the better goalie so far, so he's capable of shouldering the load while Murray is injured. DeSmith is 4-3-3 with an impressive .924 percentage and 2.39 goals against average. The Penguins will rely on DeSmith and the called-up Tristan Jarry while Murray is out.
Murray is struggling at 4-5-1 with a terrible .877 save percentage and 4.08 goals against average. Having to deal with numerous injuries certainly hasn't helped, and the Pens can only hope that some time away will have Murray find his regular form.
What This Means
The Penguins are off to one of their worst starts in franchise history, sitting at 8-8-4 and third-last in the Eastern Conference right now. It's been difficult to win games when Crosby and Murray have been injured, but the Penguins cannot afford another long-term slump without their star goalie.
But the Penguins trail the Washington Capitals by just five points (with a game in hand), for the final playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, so it's far too early for fans in the Steel City to start worrying.