Matt Murray will not play when the Ottawa Senators visit the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, TVAS) because of an upper-body injury.
The goalie was injured when he collided with Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev late in the second period of a 5-1 loss to the Jets on Thursday. The injury is not considered to be long-term and Murray will be re-evaluated in Toronto prior to Ottawa’s game at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, Senators coach D.J. Smith said.
Ottawa (2-12-1) has the worst record in the NHL and is 1-11-0 in its past 12 games.
“There’s a lot of things that are frustrating,” Smith said after practice Friday. “But if you’re not positive in a situation like this, you’re never going to get out of it. I see little victories here and there that maybe other people don’t see.”
Murray was acquired by the Senators in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 7, 2020, after leading the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 2016 and 2017 to begin his NHL career. The 26-year-old was 1-4-1 with a 4.81 goals-against average and .849 save percentage in his first seven starts for Ottawa, but has played better of late, going 1-3-0 despite a 2.13 GAA and .930 save percentage in his past five games (four starts).
“It’s difficult,” defenseman Erik Gudbranson said Thursday. “He’s your No. 1 goaltender and he found his game and he’s been outstanding for us over the last week and a half. We hope he’s going to be healthy as soon as possible.”
Goalie Marcus Hogberg will start for the Senators on Saturday. He is 0-5-0 with 4.88 GAA and .836 save percentage, an NHL worst among goalies with at least five games played.
“It’s been tough,” Hogberg said. “[There are] some goals that I want to have back. But at the same time, I have to try to take a big breath and believe in myself. I know I can play. Just focus on one shot at a time.”
Hogberg said he believes Ottawa has pinpointed the specific areas he needs to improve in to have success.
“Sometimes I overplay [the puck], sometimes maybe too aggressive,” Hogberg said. “Me and D.J. have [been] working to adjust that.”
Goalie Filip Gustavsson has been recalled from Belleville of the American Hockey League and will back up Hogberg on Saturday.
Despite the slow start to the season, Smith said the Senators’ younger players, who will make up their future core, including 21-year-old forward Brady Tkachuk and 24-year-old center Thomas Chabot, are learning valuable lessons.
“Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot, going through this, are going to be way better for it,” Smith said, “and they’re going to be able to lead these kids for a long time. And they’re doing the things, night in and night out, right now to try and help us, but they’re going to be able to draw on these experiences to help us later on, and make sure that this is a team that’s going to win for a long time.”