The Pittsburgh Penguins have a choice to make in net when they head into the 24-team playoff, deciding whether to use Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry as their starter. Though he admits it is the coach’s decision, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford told Josh Yohe of The Athletic that he believes Murray will be the choice after seeing how well the more experienced netminder performed in this week’s practices.
Murray, 26, is only a year older than Jarry but has the added benefit of two Stanley Cups and 48 playoff games under his belt. The 6’4″ netminder struggled mightily this season, however, posting an .899 save percentage. Jarry meanwhile put up a .921 and was selected to the All-Star game, but has never appeared in the postseason. The Penguins will start things off with a qualification round against the Montreal Canadiens.
- There is another interesting goaltending situation to keep an eye on in the Metropolitan Division, and that’s what is happening in Washington. The Capitals still haven’t gotten a single practice out of young star netminder Ilya Samsonov, who has been “unfit to play” for the entire training camp so far. When asked, head coach Todd Reirden wouldn’t comment on whether Samsonov will be traveling with the team to Toronto in a few days as the Capitals enter the “bubble.” For now, Braden Holtby remains the default choice as starter for Washington despite his own struggles—to the tune of an .897 save percentage—this season.
- After leaving practice yesterday, Dougie Hamilton was absent again for the Carolina Hurricanes this morning. The defenseman was in “visible discomfort” when leaving yesterday according to team reporter Michael Smith, who also notes that the Hurricanes are already missing Brett Pesce thanks to his shoulder surgery in March. While Pesce hasn’t been ruled out completely from participating in the playoffs, Hamilton was expected to be back to full strength after missing the last two months of the regular season. Given the league’s policy on not giving out injury information, there’s no way of telling what exactly happened to Hamilton or how long he’ll be out.