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Penguins goalie Matt Murray takes first step toward return to lineup |

Penguins goalie Matt Murray takes first step toward return to lineup

Penguins goaltender Matt Murray stops Maple Leafs center Zach Hyman during the second period Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Derick Brassard celebrates his goal against the Capitals as Brooks Orpik skates by in the second period Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018 at PPG Paints Arena.

If there’s one thing more than anything else that might help the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins get their season back on track, it would be the return of goalie Matt Murray to peak form.

Murray took his first step on that long road Monday morning, skating with goalie coach Mike Buckley before the Penguins practiced at PPG Paints Arena.

“It’s a big step,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’ll take each day as it comes, but certainly that’s encouraging. He’s getting close.”

Murray has been out since Thanksgiving with a lower-body injury. At the time, Sullivan said he expected Murray to be out long term.

Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry have combined to go 2-2-1 with an .890 save percentage in Murray’s absence. The save percentage ranks ninth-worst in the league during that stretch.

Murray has struggled much of this season, going 4-5-1 with a .877 save percentage.

Once practice began, the only player missing from the Penguins lineup was defenseman Kris Letang. Sullivan said afterwards that Letang had the day off for maintenance.

Follow the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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