Penguins goalie Matt Murray activated, won't start in Chicago
CHICAGO — Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray was activated off the injured list Wednesday morning, but he won’t make his return to the lineup against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
Casey DeSmith will make his sixth straight start instead.
Murray took part in his first full practice Tuesday afternoon in Chicago since being sidelined with a lower-body injury on Thanksgiving. Tristan Jarry was returned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL to make room on the roster.
Murray is medically cleared and will act as DeSmith’s backup.
“Yes he is, but he’s also only had one practice,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “We don’t have a lot of practice time. We thought we’d get him a good solid workout again today and then engage him over the next couple of games here.”
The Penguins play back-to-back home games against Boston on Friday and Los Angeles on Saturday.
DeSmith is coming off a strong, 25-save performance in a 2-1 shootout win over the Islanders on Monday. During his stretch of five straight starts, he’s 3-1-1 with a .926 save percentage.
“He was really good,” Sullivan said. “He’s really performed well for us over this last stretch of games.”
Matt Cullen, out since Nov. 17 with a lower-body injury, could make his return to the lineup against the Blackhawks. Sullivan said Cullen will be a game-time decision.
To make room on the 23-man roster for Cullen’s potential return, rather than assigning a forward to Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins put winger Patric Hornqvist on the IR with an upper-body injury.
After Wednesday night, Hornqvist will have already missed six days and three games, so he could be activated from the IR as soon as he’s ready.
Sullivan said the IR designation does not necessarily indicate a change in Hornqvist’s condition. He’s still considered day to day.
“It just gives us roster flexibility,” Sullivan said.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.