Penguins' Murray leaves game vs. Capitals after hit to head
WASHINGTON (AP) Stanley Cup-winning Matt Murray insists he's OK after taking an accidental hit to the head from Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Evgeni Malkin in a 7-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
Murray left the game late in the first period when Malkin went to shove Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner and hit Murray, whose mask came off. Murray went down to the ice in pain, talked to an athletic trainer and skated off.
Murray did not return but said he went through the NHL's concussion protocol and was medically cleared.
''I'm fine,'' Murray said. ''I had to go through the protocol, which I think is a little bit unnecessary. I think I was fine. They took me off for the hit that knocked my helmet off. After that, it was just coach's decision to keep me out.''
Marc-Andre Fleury came in cold to replace Murray with 23.7 seconds left in the first, and allowed a goal to T.J. Oshie with 7.9 second remaining as Pittsburgh fell behind 3-0. With Murray watching from the bench wearing a baseball cap, Fleury allowed five goals on 25 shots.
Coach Mike Sullivan said of his decision not to send Murray back out there: ''I thought it made sense for a lot of reasons.''
Murray, who missed the start of the playoffs because of a concussion and the start of this regular season with a broken hand from the World Cup of Hockey, entered the game 4-0-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average and .961 save percentage.