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Murray skates before Penguins practice, remains out indefinitely

Goaltender has missed past two games because of concussion

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- Matt Murray skated on his own before Pittsburgh Penguins practice Friday.

It was the first time the goaltender was on the ice since sustaining a concussion during practice Monday when he was hit in the head by a shot by defenseman Olli Maatta.

Murray was in full equipment during his time on the ice but did not face shots. He has missed the past two games and is still considered out indefinitely.

"We'll see how he responds and go from there," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

The Penguins, who have lost three straight games (0-3-0), will be without Murray when they host the New York Islanders at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday (5 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, MSG+, NHL.TV). They are in third in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the second-place Philadelphia Flyers and three behind the first-place Washington Capitals.

Murray, who helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in each of his first two NHL seasons, is 23-13-2 with a 2.82 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in 41 games this season. He was 9-1-1 in his past 11 games and had allowed fewer than three goals in four of his past six before the injury.

Rookie goalie Casey DeSmith has allowed six goals on 43 shots in two starts in place of Murray. He gave up three goals on five shots in an 8-4 loss against the Boston Bruins on Thursday and was removed 5:27 into the game. He's 3-4-0 with a 2.73 GAA and .913 save percentage in nine games this season.

Video: NJD@PIT: DeSmith denies Zacha with sweet blocker save

DeSmith, 26, worked on his mental approach with goaltending coach Mike Buckley during practice.

"You're not going to fix anything physically overnight, and a lot of the time that's not the problem either," DeSmith said. "We focus on the mental side of things and just staying loose, not tightening up or anything like that. Just trying to stay positive.

"I think everybody gets blamed, and as it should be. There are six guys on the ice and I'm sure a lot of people make mistakes during the course of a game. The goalie is definitely one of those people who make mistakes. I take responsibility for what I did wrong."

Tristan Jarry allowed five goals on 33 shots in relief of DeSmith against the Bruins. He has allowed at least four goals in three of his past four games, including four on 16 shots in a 6-5 loss to the Florida Panthers on Feb. 24. Jarry is 10-5-2 with a 2.73 GAA and .912 save percentage in 21 games.

The Penguins have been outscored 17-11 during their losing streak, including 11-6 in two games without Murray. Defenseman Kris Letang said that's not all the fault of the goaltenders.

"I think we have to be harder defensively, harder to play against," he said. "I think we have to be better defensively. … We're not a big, physical team. But we still have to defend. Last week that's what we did (outscoring teams 29-11 during a six-game winning streak). That's why we had so much success.

"I think we have to go back to that. Go back to the basics. Obviously right now guys are able to score goals, so [success] is going to come from playing well defensively."

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