The Pittsburgh Penguins are already without their top defenseman, now they will be without their starting goalie for the second consecutive game.
Matt Murray, who started 21 games in the playoffs last season in the Penguins’ Stanley Cup-winning campaign, will miss Friday’s Game 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets due to a lower-body injury, the team announced Thursday.
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Murray was expected to start Game 1 but was a late scratch after suffering an injury in warmups. The timetable for his return is unknown, but, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Murray did not practice on Thursday and did not have a stall in the dressing room at the Penguins practice facility.
Starting in place of Murray will be Marc-Andre Fleury who saved 31 of the 32 shots he faced in Wednesday’s Game 1. AHL goalie Tristan Jarry will serve as backup.
With the upcoming expansion draft this summer, it was expected that the Penguins would try to move the 32-year-old Fleury sometime over the course of the season so as to protect Murray from selection by the Vegas Golden Knights. Pittsburgh, however, held onto Fleury in a decision that is paying off with Murray’s health going forward now in question.
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The Buffalo Sabres do not rank high among the Capitals’ most hated rivals, but when you look back at the history of these two teams, Washington has struggled against the Sabres more than you may think.
In the Caps’ first two seasons they faced Buffalo 10 times. Washington lost nine of those games and tied one. In fact, the Caps managed only two wins total in their first 32 meetings.
Even when Washington advanced past their initial struggles as a franchise, success against Buffalo has been hard to come by. In their 43 seasons as a team, the Caps have only managed to sweep the season series with the Sabres three times in 1988-89, 2012-13, 2016-17.
On Saturday, however, the Caps can make it four.
Buffalo visited Washington twice in December with the Caps winning each game. On Saturday, Washington heads to Buffalo for their final meeting of the season. (1 p.m., NBC Sports Washington).
Carl Hagelin will make his Capitals debut Saturday. He suited up for the first time with his new team on Friday after getting trade by the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. He practice on the fourth line with Nic Dowd at center and Chandler Stephenson on the wing.
The newly acquired Nick Jensen will not be available for the game.
End of the road
Saturday’s game will be the sixth and final game of a season-long six-game road trip. Washington has already earned three wins guaranteeing them at least a .500 finish. A win Saturday will give them four out of six and turn a respectable road trip into a very good one.
Watching the standings
With two points, Washington can pull even with the New York Islanders. The Caps have 75 points while the Islanders sit in first place with 77. New York has a game in hand on Washington and they play later Saturday night, so a tie in the standings on Saturday afternoon could prove to be short-lived.
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Madison Bowey was traded to the Motor City earlier today as well as a second round draft pick for defenseman Nick Jensen and a fifth round draft pick. Washington promptly re-signed their new addition to a four-year, $10 million dollar contract.
After hearing the news about their teammate's departure, memebers of the Caps' took to social media to give their best wishes.
Bowey, a Stanley Cup champion, was a vital member of the 2018 Capitals' squad in their pursuit of the Cup.
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