SUNRISE, Fla. – While staying squarely within the boundaries of foggy NHL injury disclosure, Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan mapped out a bit of a timeline for the return of four injured players Thursday.
Sullivan said Matt Murray (upper body), Justin Schultz (leg), Evgeni Malkin (upper body) and Zach Aston-Reese (hand) will be out of the lineup when the Penguins take on the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
All four skated Thursday morning and are considered day to day, but Murray and Schultz are closer to returning than Malkin and Aston-Reese, Sullivan said.
With Murray out, Casey DeSmith will start in goal against the Panthers. He ended a personal three-game losing streak with a 37-save performance in a 5-3 Penguins win over Ottawa last Friday.
Thursday night’s game will start a difficult road trip for the Penguins, who will visit Tampa on Saturday and Philadelphia on Monday. The Panthers have won four of their last six games, the Lightning have the league’s best record and the Flyers have won eight games in a row.
“We want to win every game,” Sullivan said. “We’re not looking beyond the one we’ve got tonight right in front of us. We know it’s going to be a tough challenge against a real good team that’s playing well right now. We’re going to have to bring our best. We’re not looking beyond this one.
“Certainly every point is so critical at this time of year. I think I’m stating the obvious when I say that. Our goal is to win every game in front of us.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.