Penguins give Matt Murray another start in net
NEW YORK – Given the circumstances, Monday night’s matchup with the New York Rangers might have been a good game for Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan to give starting goalie Matt Murray some time off.
Murray played on the first three legs of the team’s four-city road trip and had to battle to the final seconds of each game. The first two went to overtime.
The Rangers, meanwhile, are in the middle of a rebuilding process and have lost 11 of their past 13 games.
Sullivan, though, decided to give Murray his sixth straight start, and his rationale was simple.
The Penguins aren’t at the point in the season where the coach is comfortable worrying about things like extra rest for his starting goalie or getting a start in for backup Casey DeSmith.
“Right now, our No. 1 goal is to make the playoffs. That’s what our sights are on,” Sullivan said. “We’re going to do everything we can right now to make the playoffs. That’s the main motivating factor that’s driving our decision making.”
The Penguins are third in the Metropolitan Division with 93 points with six games to play.
In the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, they have a five-point advantage on eighth-place Montreal and a seven-point edge on ninth-place Columbus. The Blue Jackets have played one fewer game than the Penguins and Canadiens.
Murray, meanwhile, is 8-0 against the Rangers in his career counting the playoffs and regular season. He’s 6-0 at Madison Square Garden.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .