The type of injury and the timing of it are far from ideal for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins announced Saturday starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is out with a concussion, which will keep him out of the lineup starting with their afternoon road game against the New York Islanders.
The cause of the injury was not revealed. However, Fleury did take a shot off the mask from Nashville Predators left winger James Neal seconds before Neal scored at 14:24 of the second period of a 5-2 Pittsburgh win on Thursday.
Fleury's injury comes an inopportune time. The Penguins only have five games left before their regular season schedule ends next Saturday. They enter their game against the Islanders one point ahead of the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division. They are also three points in front of the Islanders for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Stanley Cup playoffs are set to begin April 13, and with a head injury, there’s no guarantee Fleury will be back by then, especially since he missed eight games in December with a previous concussion. The Pens are already playing without center Evgeni Malkin, who is sidelined with a knee injury.
Fleury has been a key factor in Pittsburgh’s success this season. The 2003 first overall pick is 35-17-6 with a 2.29 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and five shutouts.
In Fleury’s absence the net will be turned over to Team North America World Cup goalie Matt Murray, who will start Saturday against the Islanders. The 21-year-old rookie is 5-2-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average, .926 save percentage in eight appearances with the Penguins. He’s spent the majority of the season in the AHL with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Jeff Zatkoff, 28, is expected to serve as the backup.