Game-day Preview #44: Winnipeg Jets @ Ottawa Senators

Matt Murray #30 of the Ottawa Senators (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Matt Murray makes his return to the crease as the Senators take on the Jets

The Senators veteran goaltender struggled to find his groove early in the NHL season and then was sidelined for nearly a month with an upper-body injury, but he makes his much-anticipated return tonight.

Player to Watch: Matt Murray

Murray was Pierre Dorion’s biggest acquisition during the 2020 offseason as he dealt a 2nd round pick and prospect Jonathan Gruden for the prized goaltender, but the results haven’t been there so far this season.

Murray 26, has appeared in 22 games for the Senators this season carrying a 7-12-1 record with a 0.880 Save percentage and a 3.84 goals-against-average, numbers that will have to improve if he wants to live up to his lucrative 4-year $25 million contract signed following the trade. Murray’s -20.9 Goals Saved Above Expected ranks dead last in the NHL, trailing just behind struggling goaltenders Carter Hart, Thomas Greiss and Brian Elliott.

However, there is reason to believe that Murray’s game will improve as the Senators have iced a much better team over the course of the last month as they’ve continued their youth movement. The Senators also hired a new goaltending coach by the name of Zac Bierk, with the main object in mind to improve the play of Murray. D.J. Smith made this clear when he first addressed the change:

A solid performance tonight by Murray would silence some of the concerns with his play and would act as a perfect segway as he and the team embarks on an important stretch to finish the season.

News & Notes

  • D.J. Smith stated that the team will roll with the same skaters they iced in their previous game

  • This means no Jacob Bernard-Docker or Shane Pinto for the Senators again tonight but the expectation is they will appear in Saturday’s game in Montreal

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Starting Goalies

Matt Murray

2020-21 Season Stats: 22 GP, 7-12-1, 0.880 SV%, 3.84 GAA

Murray’s last start was on March 10th versus the Edmonton Oilers where he stopped 29/36 shots in a 7-1 loss.

Laurent Brossoit

2020-21 Season Stats: 9 GP, 5-3-1, 0.914 SV%, 2.63 GAA

Brossoit makes his 2nd start versus the Senators this season, his previous one coming in a 4-3 overtime win stopping 38/41 shots. The Jets backup’s last start was on March 27th versus the Calgary Flames, stopping 29/33 shots in a 4-2 loss.