Penguins notebook: Murray getting comfortable with new team
SUNRISE, Fla. — Defenseman Douglas Murray is a colorful character known for delivering thunderous hits.
However, while figuring out the nuances of the Penguins' system, the newly acquired defenseman wanted to tame his game — at least for now — sacrificing the occasional hit for the sake of sound defensive work.
Murray entered Saturday's game in Florida with a plus-2 mark in seven games with the Penguins. His penalty-killing work has drawn praise from the coaching staff, and he has formed a strong partnership with defenseman Matt Niskanen, a pair the Penguins intend on using in the postseason.
“I'm pretty happy with how I've played,” Murray said. “There are a few things I still need to improve on, but I've stayed under control, which is good.”
Murray was pleasantly surprised to learn the Penguins' system isn't terribly different than the one deployed in San Jose.
With the playoffs more than two weeks away, Murray is confident he will be fully familiar with his responsibilities.
Murray, of course, remains capable of the occasional rambunctious moment. He has been credited with 23 hits in his seven games with the Penguins and engaged in a lengthy fight with Carolina's Kevin Westgarth.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby (broken jaw) and defenseman Paul Martin (broken bone in hand) decided to join their teammates during the final southern road trip of the season.
Martin has resumed skating, though he did not hit the ice Saturday. Coach Dan Bylsma said Martin is on schedule to return within 4 to 6 weeks, which could allow him to return in time for the beginning of the playoffs.
Crosby is finally allowed to eat something other than milkshakes — mashed potatoes — but hasn't been given clearance to skate.
He would like to resume skating next week and is hopeful of returning to the lineup before the regular season concludes.
Still a concern
The Penguins have never finished out of the NHL's top 10 in penalty killing under Bylsma, but that will change this season. They rank 25th.
The Penguins entered Saturday's game in Florida having allowed seven power-play goals in their past three road games.
“Regardless of the percentage,” Bylsma said, “it's about our next special teams situation.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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