With Mike Sullivan’s tenure behind the Penguins bench only one game old, things are about to get a lot more difficult. Pittsburgh will be without goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for at least one-to-two weeks due to a concussion.
Fleury, 31, has been one of the best goaltenders in the league this season. Of the 28 goaltenders to play 750 minutes at 5-on-5 heading into Tuesday night, Fleury ranked seventh with a save percentage of .937. Through 25 games, Fleury had a 13-10-2 record, two shutouts and a 2.29 goals-against average.
Even though the initial diagnosis is a one-to-two week absence for Fleury, the nature of head injuries means he could be out longer. When exactly the injury occurred is unknown, but Sullivan told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jenn Menendez that Fleury came to the coaching staff post-game and said he wasn’t feeling “right.” Sullivan said it was “potentially” a concussion, which was later confirmed by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.
“I haven’t talked to the doctor yet,” Rutherford told Menendez. “I don’t have any further information other than he was examined, and it was determined he was concussed. At a minimum one to two weeks. You can’t put a time line on these things though.”
Sullivan said he didn’t believe Fleury sustained the concussion in Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, but was unsure when it could have happened.
It’s not certain who will start in Fleury’s place Wednesday against the Boston Bruins, though backup Jeff Zatkoff will likely get the call. That said, the Penguins did call up netminder Matt Murray, the 2014-15 AHL goaltender of the year and rookie of the year, from the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Murray has been one of the best goaltenders in the AHL again this season. In 17 games, he has a 12-4-0 record, four shutouts, 1.84 goals-against average and .938 save percentage.
The Penguins also got confirmation on the extent of the injury to Beau Bennett Tuesday afternoon. Bennett, who was injured following an ugly collision with the boards Monday, will be out 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury.