Matt Murray Won’t Play Penguins, Return to Pittsburgh Put on Hold

Pittsburgh Penguins, Matt Murray (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Matt Murray (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

On Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins will play host to the Ottawa Senators, but they won’t be able to welcome two-time Stanley Cup champion Matt Murray back to PPG Paints Arena.

Murray, who has not faced the Penguins since he was shipped from Pittsburgh to Ottawa after the conclusion of the 2019-2020 NHL season, would have made his return to the Steel City on Thursday night, as the Sens are set to do battle with the Pens. It is the only game between the two clubs in Pittsburgh this season, as both of the other meetings are road games for the Penguins.

Last year’s pandemic schedule and restrictions prevented the two teams from crossing paths, and now Murray will be out of the lineup for this second meeting between the teams. He missed a game in Ottawa between the clubs back in November as well.

Matt Murray will not make his return to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins.

The 27-year-old netminder played five seasons during his tenure with the Penguins, winning the Stanley Cup in each of his first two NHL seasons. He burst onto the scene in 2016, seemingly out of nowhere, as he ended up with more postseason wins than regular season games played. That did not stop him and the Penguins from claiming the team’s first championship since 2009.

Murray and the Pens kept the magic rolling during the 2016-2017 season. Still classified as a rookie, Murray appeared in 49 regular season games and 11 playoff contests in route to the first back-to-back championships in the NHL since the Detroit Red Wings accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1998.

In total, the Thunder Bay native played 199 games for the Penguins, posting a record of 117-53-19 with a .914 save percentage, 2.67 goals against average, and 11 shutouts. In his first full season with Pittsburgh, he earned All-Rookie honors and finished fourth in the Calder Trophy voting.

His Senators career has been less spectacular than his time in the ‘Burgh. Since the trade north of the border, Murray has recorded a 12-19-1 record, an .893 save percentage, a 3.38 goals against average, and two shutouts. This season, he has played in only nine contests.

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While Murray and the fans in Pittsburgh would presumably be excited for the goaltender’s return to where it all started, both parties will have to wait until at least next season to see number 30 back in front of the black and gold.