Penguins notebook: Tristan Jarry makes his case in goal
Two games into the preseason, the battle for the backup goaltender spot behind Matt Murray remains competitive.
Tristan Jarry made 41 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
With the Pittsburgh Penguins being outshot 44-30, Jarry helped keep his team in the game. Most notably, he lunged to his left to make a highlight-reel glove save on an Anthony Mantha shot off a cross-ice pass in the second period.
His roughest moment came in the third period, when he lost track of a Justin Abdelkader shot from the right wing, giving former Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen a shot into an empty cage on the rebound to make it 2-2. Michael Rasmussen scored the winning goal at the tail end of a power play in overtime.
Jarry’s performance came on the heels of a strong 26-save showing for Casey DeSmith in a 3-2 loss at Buffalo in the preseason opener Tuesday night.
DeSmith has to be considered the favorite in the race, because he fared better in the regular season last year, held down the job in the playoffs and would have to clear waivers to be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. With performances like Wednesday night’s, Jarry isn’t making the decision easy.
Hitting the scoresheet
Ryan Haggerty, who scored clutch goals in intrasquad scrimmages on consecutive days at the start of training camp, was at it again in Detroit. He gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead in the third period on a shot from the left circle under the crossbar.
Derek Grant also scored for the Penguins.
Lafferty’s big night
Hollidaysburg native Sam Lafferty has hit a series of exciting sign posts ever since the Penguins, the team he grew up rooting for, picked him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft.
He attended his first development camp, then played his first game for the team’s AHL affiliate, then took part in a full training camp for the first time.
On Wednesday night, he added another milestone, playing his first NHL exhibition game.
“It’s right up there for sure,” Lafferty said. “Probably the biggest so far, to finally play, even though it’s not a regular-season game, to put on a Penguins sweater in an NHL arena and go play, I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity.”
Lafferty, Brown University’s leading scorer each of the past two seasons, is just beginning his climb up the hockey ladder and is ticketed for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. A 6-foot-1 right-handed shooter who can play center and wing, Lafferty said his primary focus in the preseason is keeping his legs moving.
“Definitely my speed is a big part of my game,” he said. “I think I’ve shown that here in camp. They just encourage that and tell me to keep going.”
Before Jack Johnson made his Penguins preseason debut Wednesday night, he learned an important lesson about life in the town he’ll call home for the next eight or nine months.
“I did learn for the first time ‘Pittsburgh style’ means fries on everything,” the fitness-conscious defenseman said. “I know better now. Fortunately, I don’t normally order anything with fries on top.”
Center Riley Sheahan, who hasn’t yet taken part in a training camp practice because of a lower-body injury, skated on his own Wednesday morning. Assistant coach Mark Recchi said the Penguins are being cautious with Sheahan in an effort to make sure he’s ready for the season opener.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.