Columbus Blue Jackets rookie defenseman Ryan Murray was held out of practice Monday for a maintenance day but coach Todd Richards said Murray, recovered from a knee injury, will play in Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Initially expected to miss the remainder of the regular season after having arthroscopic knee surgery in March, Murray returned April 4 and played in five games. He sat out the season finale Saturday against the Florida Panthers as a precaution. The No. 2 pick of the 2012 NHL Draft was hurt during Columbus' 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 3 and had surgery four days later.
Murray, 20, had four goals, 17 assists and a plus-4 rating in 66 regular-season games. He has one goal and a plus-2 rating in five games since returning.
Richards told reporters earlier this month that he had no hesitation of playing Murray with Columbus chasing a playoff spot, which it clinched April 8 in a 3-1 win against the Dallas Stars in the continuation of a March 10 game postponed after Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench.
"He [Murray] has earned my confidence in him, based on his decisions, his calmness with the puck, his poise and how he defends," Richards said.