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Penguins' Tristan Jarry back in spotlight with Matt Murray away

Jonathan Bombulie
| Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, 8:39 p.m.
Penguins Tristan Jarry stops the Burins' Danton Heinen in the first period Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins Tristan Jarry stops the Burins' Danton Heinen in the first period Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 at PPG Paints Arena.
Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry makes a glover save against the Sabres in the second period Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry makes a glover save against the Sabres in the second period Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry makes a glove save on the Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon in the third period Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry makes a glove save on the Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon in the third period Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.

Coming out of training camp, Tristan Jarry was expecting he would carry a heavy workload this season.

He just thought it would be in Wilkes-Barre.

Circumstances have conspired to see Jarry pressed into duty in an NHL net far more frequently than he ever could have anticipated, and the trend will continue when the Penguins return from a four-day off week to host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon.

Matt Murray is home in Ontario attending to a personal family matter. Coach Mike Sullivan said Murray won't play Saturday, and he'll get as much time away as he needs.

That means Jarry will get a chance to bounce back from his worst start as a pro in short order. Jarry gave up five goals on 19 shots before being pulled late in the second period of a 6-5 overtime win over the Boston Bruins last Sunday.

“Obviously, you want to come back with a good game,” Jarry said. “I think that's a big thing for me. I think that's something I'm able to grow on and learn from.”

The ability to have a short memory, quickly forgetting failures like an NFL cornerback, is a skill Jarry said he has refined over the past two award-winning seasons in the AHL.

“Coming into pro, you have to take it in stride, and you have to learn that very quickly,” Jarry said. “You play a lot of games. You play a lot of back-to-backs. You can't be dwelling on what happened in the past. It's always a good thing to take a step forward.”

The whole season has been a step forward for the 22-year-old Jarry. In September, his name was written into the third spot on the team's goaltending depth chart in pen. Maybe he would get a few NHL games here and there because of injury, but for the most part, he was going to keep working on his game in the minors.

Then Antti Niemi flopped. Then Murray suffered a lower-body injury that kept him sidelined for the first two weeks of December.

Jarry was thrown into the deep end of the pool.

He has responded well enough that an absence by Murray is no longer cause for great alarm in the Penguins locker room.

Mike Sullivan said he always been confident in Jarry, but it's impossible to predict how a young player will handle his first taste of NHL action. Jarry's performance this season — a 7-3-2 record with a .919 save percentage — has met or exceeded his coach's expectations.

“We all have believed in Tristan's capabilities,” Sullivan said. “We know he's a very good goalie. He's got a lot of upside. We think he's only going to get better as he gets a little bit more mature and he gains a little bit more experience.

“He should certainly have a lot of confidence at this point with what he's been able to accomplish at this particular point in the season. He's a legitimate NHL-caliber goaltender, and I think he's proven that to everybody.”

The next step for Jarry is to prove he can respond to a setback as he is once again is thrust into the spotlight.

“It's something you don't really expect,” Jarry said. “You have to take advantage of it. I was expecting to play a lot this year in Wilkes-Barre, and I was fortunate to get called up and play a couple games in a row when I got called up. I think it helped me grow as a goalie. I think it helped my development.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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