Penguins notebook: Tristan Jarry gets start as Matt Murray remains out
Late last season, Tristan Jarry played on a Friday in Syracuse, bused 220 miles overnight to Allentown and pitched a 35-save shutout to lead Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to victory on a Saturday.
That's part of the reason Penguins coach Mike Sullivan had no misgivings starting the 22-year-old goalie for back-to-back home games this weekend.
Two years in the AHL, where teams often play three games in three days on weekends to maximize attendance, prepared Jarry to face the New York Rangers on Sunday night after beating the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon.
“The American League in a lot of ways is a great development league because you're presented with certain challenges, and logistics is one of them,” Sullivan said. “It takes a certain mental toughness to have to play three games in three nights, regardless of the position that you play. Most goalies don't play all three games, but they're probably going to get two of the three and Tristan's done that a fair amount of times.”
Jarry's effectiveness in back-to-back situations has improved dramatically during his three seasons as a pro.
As a 20-year-old AHL rookie in 2015-16, he struggled badly when playing on consecutive days, going 2-6-0 with a 4.17 goals-against average and .867 save percentage.
Last year, he was lights out, going 3-1-0 with a 1.23 GAA and .947 save percentage on the tail end of back-to-backs.
In the first three months of this season, he went 2-0 in back-to-back situations, once in the AHL and once in the NHL.
On Dec. 1, he recorded a 34-save shutout in a 4-0 win in Buffalo, then stopped 32 of 33 shots in a 5-1 Penguins victory in the tail end of the home-and-home set with the Sabres the next night.
“I don't think there's any really trick,” Jarry said earlier this month. “I think it's just being prepared for the game, and that was something you practice a lot in the American League. You play a lot of weekend games, back-to-backs, three-in-threes. I think that helps a lot. I think that helps you stay focused throughout the game.”
No. 1 goalie Matt Murray, who missed Saturday's game for personal reasons, did not dress Sunday but will make a three-game California road trip with the team this week.
“Matt will address the media at an appropriate time, but at this time we're giving him his personal space and we're asking everybody to respect that,” Sullivan said.
Defenseman Ian Cole was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game. Chad Ruhwedel is close to returning from an upper-body injury suffered Dec. 27 but did not dress against the Rangers.
Sullivan said winger Bryan Rust, out since Dec. 27 with an upper-body injury, skated with the team's skills coach Sunday morning and is making progress. Sullivan said there is no update on the status of Carter Rowney, who is expected to miss at least four weeks after suffering an upper-body injury Jan. 2.
Penguins prospect Andrey Pedan accomplished a rare feat for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a 4-3 victory over Laval on Saturday night, becoming the second defenseman in the 18-year history of the Baby Pens to record a hat trick.
The first was Alexandre Picard, who played 17 NHL games during his lone season in the Penguins organization in 2011-12.
Kessel moving up
Andrew Cogliano will see his NHL-best ironman streak end at 830 games Monday when he misses Anaheim's game with Colorado due to suspension.
That bumps Penguins winger Phil Kessel (654) up to third on the league's consecutive games-played list behind Florida's Keith Yandle (676) and Toronto's Patrick Marleau (669).