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Murray skips Blue Jackets practice, will play Game 1

by Staff

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.

Forwards Nick Foligno (lower body) and R.J. Umberger (upper body) have been ruled out for Wednesday, but Richards anticipates each being ready at some point during the series.

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