Skip to main content

Penguins move Maatta to pair with Letang

by Wes Crosby

BLUE JACKETS (4-12-0) at PENGUINS (10-5-0)

TV: TVA Sports, SN1, FS-O, ROOT

PITTSBURGH -- Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray was expected to be a healthy scratch against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Friday, but was in the lineup after forward Brandon Dubinsky was unable to play because of an upper-body injury.

The Blue Jackets used seven defensemen and 11 forwards.

Murray, 22, has two goals and five assists in 16 games. He's third on the Blue Jackets with an average ice time of 20:36 but was a minus-2 in each of the past two games. Two defensive lapses by Murray led to Vancouver Canucks goals in the Blue Jackets' 5-3 loss Tuesday.

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said defenseman Dalton Prout would replace Murray in the lineup and be paired with Fedor Tyutin.

Murray was the second pick of the 2012 NHL Draft but injuries his first two seasons limited him to 78 games. He's been healthy for every game this season.

The Penguins, who held an optional morning skate, will stick with their forward lines from their 4-3 shootout win Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens, but coach Mike Johnston said the defense pairings could change.

The Penguins were outshot 13-1 in the second period against the Canadiens, so Johnston moved defenseman Olli Maatta off a pairing with Rob Scuderi to one with Kris Letang, who had struggled alongside Ian Cole.

Letang and Maatta began the season as the Penguins' top pairing but were separated after Maatta had difficulty playing the number of minutes that role demands. Maatta missed 62 games last season with various injuries, including an upper-body injury that ended his season Dec. 6.

It's unknown if Johnston will proceed with the new-look pairings.

"I don't really know what's going on," Cole said. "We're the last people to find out what's going on. Whatever the case may be, whatever we've done thus far hasn't been good enough so we're obviously looking to turn that around right away."

Marc-Andre Fleury was the first goalie off the ice for Pittsburgh and likely will start against Columbus.

Here are the projected lineups:


Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno

Scott Hartnell - Brandon Saad

Matt Calvert - William Karlsson - Cam Atkinson

Jared Boll - Gregory Campbell - Rene Bourque

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout

Kevin Connauton - Cody Goloubef

Ryan Murray

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Injured: David Clarkson (back), Alexander Wennberg (foot), Brandon Dubinsky (upper body)


Pascal Dupuis - Sidney Crosby - Beau Bennett

David Perron - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel

Chris Kunitz - Nick Bonino - Patric Hornqvist

Daniel Sprong - Matt Cullen - Eric Fehr

Olli Maatta - Kris Letang

Ian Cole - Rob Scuderi

Ben Lovejoy - Brian Dumoulin

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Injured: Bryan Rust (undisclosed)

Scratched: Adam Clendening, Sergei Plotnikov

Status report: Malkin and Cullen took the morning skate after neither practiced Thursday. … Johansen practiced Thursday after being held out of practice Wednesday.

Who's hot: Dupuis scored 13 seconds into the game against Montreal on Wednesday after missing the previous two games because of symptoms that could have been related to his blood clot history. … Hartnell has five goals and two assists in his past seven games.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.