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Here are the 3 biggest takeaways from the Penguins’ Friday afternoon skate in San Jose.

1. Schultz okay after crosscheck

Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz skated after he left in the third period of Thursday’s game following a crosscheck from Dustin Brown.

“I feel fine,” Schultz said. “Everything went well out there, so I’m good to go. I was pretty nervous at first, luckily all the tests went well and a good day on the ice today. I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

On the play, Schultz had fallen to his knees facing the boards and was completely defenseless when Brown skated up and leveled him from behind, sending his face into the dasher.

The Kings forward received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, as well as a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety this afternoon. However, Brown did not receive a suspension, merely receiving a fine of $10,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA.

“The league deals with that, I’m not going to comment and start anything,” Schultz said. “It is what it is. I’m not hurt, so that’s alright. I’ll be back next game.”

Evgeni Malkin also received disciplinary action for a play in the game. He was fined $5,000 for spearing Brown in the first period.

2. Pens monitoring workload

The team stayed the night in Los Angeles following their 3-1 win over the Kings and had an 11 a.m. flight to San Jose this morning. When they landed, one bus went to the team hotel while the other took Schultz, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Daniel Sprong, Ian Cole, Chad Ruhwedel, Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith to the Sharks’ practice facility for a skate.

The Penguins have been taking advantage of every opportunity they have to get rest, especially since entering the second half of the season. For this California swing, they’ve only had one full practice – on Tuesday in Anaheim – and will finish the trip without having held a morning skate for any of the three games.

“We’re obviously trying to monitor our workload and for example, this particular week, we’re in the middle of three games in four nights,” head coach Mike Sullivan explained. “We just had back-to-back games, two pretty tough games against two really good teams. To give them an opportunity to recover today, we felt as though it was really important so that we can be at our best tomorrow.”

3. WBS streaking

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins extended their season-best winning streak to 8 games with a 4-1 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday.

Arguably the most impressive part of that streak is that a number of WBS’ top forwards and both goaltenders they started the season with are currently with Pittsburgh: DeSmith, Jarry, Dea, Sprong and Dominik Simon.

Talking with Dea, who made his season debut on Thursday centering Tom Kuhnhackl and Ryan Reaves, he credited the entire organization from top to bottom for making it easy on guys to slot in wherever they’re needed.

“The whole organization does a great job, starting in Wheeling,” Dea said. “When guys come up they’re ready to play so it makes everything easier. In Wilkes we had good guys down there who work hard. That’s the way we play here in the Pittsburgh organization. We work hard and skate. So that’s why, I think. All three groups of players on the teams make a big group and everybody works hard and helps each other. Every time guys get called up and stuff, they’re ready to go and they know what to do.”

It also helps that WBS head coach Clark Donatelli, who is one of the absolute best people in the game, and first-year assistant coach Tim Army do a tremendous job of finding that balance between development and winning.

“They’re the best, obviously,” Dea said with a smile. “You look at Clarkie, you can’t ask for a better guy to make you feel comfortable. Always there to talk to you and make sure you’re comfortable. Obviously they’re doing a really good job down there.”

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Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins’ 5-3 loss to Anaheim…

* The Pens got off to the start they wanted. They appeared to show no signs of sluggishness despite the time change, as they had their legs under them from the drop of the puck and controlled play for most of the first period despite being outshot. They went into the first intermission with a well-earned 1-0 lead.

* Things took a turn in the second. The Ducks ended up taking a 2-1 lead off a pair of fluky goals – one off a perfect deflection; the other when Tristan Jarry’s stick got tangled up on one side of the net and prevented him from sliding over to stop a wraparound. Even though there wasn’t much the Pens could do on those, the momentum definitely shifted. The Pens started getting sloppy with the puck, giving up odd-man rushes and quality chances against, and handed the Ducks some freebies that they promptly took advantage of.

“I thought we had moments in the game where we were really good and others where we weren’t so good,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “You can’t give up four breakaways. We’re hitting shinpads, we didn’t take care of the puck in certain areas of the rink and when we don’t play a disciplined, diligent game in those areas, then you’re vulnerable. The real estate inside and outside the blue lines are so critically important to becoming a team that’s harder to play against and when we don’t take care of the puck in those areas, you’re going to run the risk of those types of plays.”

* The Pens did do a good job of battling back in the third. They pushed hard and made it a game, creating as much as they gave up. But unfortunately, the hockey gods weren’t on their side tonight as some of those fantastic chances just wouldn’t fall. “We fell short tonight, but we’ve just got to make sure we heed the lessons and I think the most important takeaway is that we’ve just got make sure that we take care of the puck in those critical areas of the rink,” Sullivan said.

* This was an interesting night on special teams. The Ducks dominated that area for the first two periods, where their fifth-ranked penalty kill was phenomenal against Pittsburgh’s top-ranked power play. They created more shorthanded than the Pens did with the extra man, and ended up getting a goal off a breakaway as a result. However, the Pens responded in the third with a pair of power-play goals from Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel to cut a 4-1 deficit to 4-3.

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Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray is in Canada with his family to tend to a personal matter and will be away from the team indefinitely.

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions recalled Casey DeSmith from their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to serve behind Tristan Jarry. The Penguins host Detroit on Saturday and the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Head coach Mike Sullivan said Friday that Murray will miss at least one game and will be given “as much time as he needs.”

The Penguins are fifth in the crowded Metropolitan Division race heading into the second half of the season. Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to consecutive Cup victories, has been uneven at times this season. The 23-year-old is 15-12-1 with a 2.93 goals-against average.

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Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins’ 2-1 loss to Carolina…

* The turning point of this game came in the second period. Late in the frame, it appeared that Jaccob Slavin had given the Canes a 2-1 lead when he beat Tristan Jarry with a bomb from the point, but the Pens used their coach’s challenge on the play. After video review, it was determined there had been goalie interference as Derek Ryan had elbowed Jarry in the head right before the puck entered the net. No goal.

That was a huge break for the Pens, and the perfect opportunity to shift momentum back onto their side. But Carolina wasn’t ready to give it up. On the next shift, the Pens got trapped in their end and began scrambling. Slavin stickhandled into the slot and Jarry pokechecked the puck, which bounced onto the blade of Sebastian Aho for the score. It took the Canes all of 21 seconds to regain the 2-1 advantage, one they would not relinquish. It always hurts giving up goals late in periods, but that one was particularly backbreaking.

* That sequence is the one that stands out from that period, but overall, the Canes were the better team in the middle 20 minutes. I thought they outplayed the Pens pretty drastically. The Pens had to expect a response from them, but they weren’t able to provide a pushback. Instead, they had a letdown. The Pens spent too much time in their own end and gave up quality scoring chances and a high volume of shots, and the Canes were eventually rewarded with the game-winner at the end. The Pens have to be able to handle that kind of pressure better.

* The Pens did get the start they wanted. That had been a big focus for them because entering tonight, the Canes had scored first in seven of their last eight games and are 6-0 in their last six games when tallying first. I thought they were incredibly solid in the opening 20 minutes from top to bottom. They didn’t give up a lot and generated a lot of offensive-zone time. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to carry that over.

* The Pens were so resilient in their last game, a 5-4 shootout win over Columbus, erasing two-goal deficits twice in the third period. But they weren’t able to do the same against Carolina. Credit to the Canes for the style of hockey they played. They played a north-south, straight-line game and did a good job of using their speed to take away the Pens’ time and space. Overall, they did a fantastic job of protecting the lead.

* Jarry had a pretty heavy workload in his first start since Dec. 11. The Canes fired double-digit shots on him in the first two periods and totaled 33 on the night. I thought he looked great and did a good job of giving his team a chance to win. He was especially strong on Carolina’s two power plays.

* Brian Dumoulin scored the Pens’ only goal of the night in the first five minutes of play. He recognized an opportunity to join the rush and took it. Jake Guentzel’s centering pass went off a skate and right to Dumoulin, who chipped it into the net. Overall Dumoulin had a solid night, as he also saved a goal by stick-checking Jordan Staal, who had a wide-open net.

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The Penguins don’t have a problem this season — they have problems, plural, and every time they think they have one figured out, another one pops up.

They’re obviously getting inconsistent scoring throughout the lineup. Jake Guentzel, Conor Sheary and Carl Hagelin are all having down offensive seasons vs. 2016-17. As mentioned here, their even-strength scoring is down overall, and the Penguins have too often looked like a team with a lot of miles on its tires from the past two Stanley Cup championship runs.

But if there’s one number that really sticks out about the Penguins this season, it’s their record in one-goal games. First, it’s the fact that they’ve played a lot of them in a season that has seen its share of large margins of victories. More than half of Pittsburgh’s games — 17 out of 32 this season — have been decided by one goal. Last season, only 22 of its 82 games were one-goal games.

Last season, the Penguins won 19 of their one-goal games and only lost three. This season? They’ve won 10 and lost seven — the most losses in games decided by one goal in the NHL. That doesn’t include three overtime losses, which are obviously also by a one-goal margin.

Their offensive woes are part of these struggles in close games, but there’s another significant change from last season on the defensive side: The Penguins have gone from a .914 team save percentage to an .896 this season. It’s no secret that Pittsburgh has gotten substandard goaltending from its backup netminders in 2017 — it was swell, Antti Niemi — but starter Matt Murray has been no great shakes either, with a very ordinary .910 EV save percentage, down from .932 last season.

The Penguins hope that Murray will bounce back now that he’s off injured reserve, and the Penguins can start picking up wins in the closely decided games.

Emily Kaplan, national NHL reporter: Score more goals at even strength! That’s a panacea for any ailing team, but the Penguins’ 5-on-5 production doesn’t resemble what we’re used to from the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs. As of Tuesday, the Penguins had 45 goals at even strength. Where does that rank in the league? A measly 29th. Only the San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres are worse. Pittsburgh has also allowed 103 goals at even strength, which is tied for the second-worst mark in the league. The Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers join Pittsburgh in the cellar. So what gives?

Slow starts also plagued the Pens early in the season and haven’t improved much since. Bottom-six depth has been a concern for this team since it parted ways with veterans Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen. Preseason darling Greg McKegg just couldn’t keep up and landed on the waiver wire last week.

When I watch Pittsburgh, I see a team that looks tired. Maybe the past few seasons are finally taking a toll. How can this be fixed, Penguins fans might ask? An injection of energy — perhaps via a trade — can’t hurt. Offer this roster some fresh legs. Remain hopeful that 23-year-old Dominik Simon can sustain some of the excitement he brought while playing top-line minutes with Sidney Crosby this week. And score early and often on 5-on-5. For as much as the Penguins haven’t looked like themselves early on, and as wild as it is to see them fifth in the division, they’re still in the hunt.

Chris Peters, NHL Insider: I think the Penguins could potentially benefit from a trade, particularly to bring in some scoring depth to make their bottom six more of a threat. Pittsburgh has somewhat limited assets to make such a trade, however. Ian Cole seems like the obvious candidate based on the reports and rumors about him, but I feel like that might plug one hole by creating another in the defensive-depth department. I do potentially like the idea of fresh blood coming in — players who are hungry for an opportunity. Pittsburgh had been able to do that internally with Bryan Rust, Sheary and Murray two years ago, and Guentzel last year. It would be awfully hard for Simon to move the needle as much as those guys did, hence the need for [Penguins GM Jim] Rutherford to look externally.

Then again, I think the Pens still have enough talent on the roster to get out of the funk. It just may take a little more creativity. Staying the course may be an uninteresting option, but Pittsburgh has the worst 5-on-5 shooting percentage in the league right now. It’s hard to expect that to continue. It may not be as easy as snapping one’s fingers so that the goals magically start dropping, but it’s easier to expect things to change when you have this particular roster. Also, if they’re really trying to get that ol’ shooting percentage up, just keep passing the puck to Phil Kessel. The Thrill is on fire right now, with seven goals in his past nine games, and is on a career-best goal-scoring pace.

Finally, now that Murray is back, the Pens have to figure out the right workload for him. With Tristan Jarry showing that he might be ready to take on a few more starts, they can take some of the burden off of their young No. 1 goalie. The amount of hockey this team has played, coming off of back-to-back Cup seasons, undoubtedly puts a strain on the whole team, but especially on Murray, who was essentially thrust into the role while he was still figuring out how to be a goalie in the NHL (and that’s not just about stopping pucks and playing games). He has a pair of Stanley Cups to show he passed the test, but this is still his first full year as The Guy. Keeping him healthy and as fresh as possible should be a priority going forward, especially if the team keeps struggling to score.

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Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens’ 2-1 loss against the Colorado Avalanche at PPG Paints Arena…

* Goaltender Tristan Jarry made his sixth consecutive start and eighth straight appearance in the blue paint for Pittsburgh. His previous outing didn’t go so well as he allowed three goals and was pulled after 20 minutes against Toronto. The question was how Jarry would handle bouncing back from such an ugly outing.

The answer: magnificently.

Jarry made several ridiculous saves for Pittsburgh, including a shorthanded breakaway stop on J.T. Compher and a split pad save on Blake Comeau late in the third period. It was a tough test for the rookie tender, and he passed easily. Jarry gave the Pens a chance to win.

* Nova Scotia-native Nathan MacKinnon is off to the best start of his five-year NHL career. He was definitely the Avalanche’s best player in the game, and appeared to have scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season with a nice move around defenseman Kris Letang before slipping the puck through Jarry’s five-hole.

However, the Penguins challenged the play for offside. The challenge was upheld and the goal was negated.

* The Pens had their spurts of dominance, mostly in the third period, but it was an otherwise lackluster performance. Pittsburgh seemed to have no flow, appeared disjointed and its passes were off. Collectively, the Pens struggled to really find their game and assert themselves.

It was an uninspiring night all around for Pittsburgh.

* Entering the game, goaltender Jonathan Bernier had won just once in 10 previous appearances against the Pens. He improved that to twice.

* Phil Kessel extended his scoring streak to 5 games with a late third-period goal (4G-1A).

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Pittsburgh Penguins starting goalie Matt Murray is considered out week to week with a lower-body injury suffered on Monday, coach Mike Sullivan said.

Murray exited with 4:21 left in the second period after Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek crashed into him during a breakaway. The 23-year-old managed to skate off under his own power before limping down the runway, clearly favoring his right leg.

Tristan Jarry stepped in for Murray, and the Penguins rallied for a 5-4 overtime win. Jarry appears to be the solution right now. Pittsburgh also called up goalie Casey DeSmith from the AHL.

Jarry earned his first NHL win against the Lightning Nov. 25, making 33 saves on 35 shots.

“We believe he is a solid goalie,” Sullivan said, according to NHL.com. “I think the game he played against Tampa is a perfect example of what he’s capable of. Tristan is going to have to make timely saves for us game in and game out. We believe he can do that.”

Backup goalie has been a point of concern for the Penguins this season. Antti Niemi, 34, entered the season as the No. 2, but he lasted only three games before being cut loose with a 7.97 goals-against average. That opened the door for the 22-year-old Jarry, who has appeared in only four games this season and one last year.

The Penguins were also missing center Evgeni Malkin Monday for a fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. Sullivan said he is day to day and will accompany the team on its trip to Buffalo Friday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled goaltender Tristan Jarry from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Goalie Casey DeSmith has been re-assigned to WBS.

Jarry, 22, has won three-straight games for WBS prior to his recall, including 18 saves on 20 shots in a 5-2 win at Bridgeport last Saturday night. Overall, Jarry has started five games this year, going 3-2 with a 3.18 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage.

Last season, the 6-foot-2, 194-pound Jarry backstopped WBS to the top regular-season record in the AHL, compiling a 28-15-2 record, three shutouts, a 2.15 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 45 appearances. He and DeSmith combined to win the Harry “Hap” Holmes Award after allowing the fewest goals in the AHL.

Jarry, who hails from Surrey, British Columbia, made his NHL debut for Pittsburgh in last year’s season-finale at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. He has dressed as the backup goalie in the opening round of the NHL playoffs for the Penguins each of the last two seasons, and was also a member of the “Black Aces” practice squad both years as well.

Pittsburgh’s second-round (44th overall) draft pick in 2013, Jarry has played in 83 career AHL regular-season games with WBS, going 48-30-5 with a 2.42 goals-against average, a .916 save percentage and eight shutouts.

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The Pittsburgh Penguins placed goaltender Antti Niemi on waivers Monday after he appeared in just three games as Matt Murray’s backup.

Niemi, 34, had a 7.49 goals-against average and a .797 save percentage. That includes allowing seven goals in a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

He gave up four goals in under 10 minutes during the Penguins’ 10-1 drubbing by the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 5.

“[Niemi] just drew the bad hand for three games,” general manager Jim Rutherford told reporters, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He had the back-to-back games and we didn’t do a lot to help him, so I feel bad for him.”

Niemi had signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Penguins in the offseason. Niemi, who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, had been with the Dallas Stars the previous two seasons before they bought out the final year of his contract.

Pittsburgh called up rookie goaltender Casey DeSmith from its AHL affiliate in Wilkes Barre/Scranton.

DeSmith and Tristan Jarry will share backup goaltending duties and will be evaluated on a “week-to-week basis,” according to Rutherford.

The Penguins also announced that forward Carter Rowney had been placed on injured reserve after he left Saturday’s game with an apparent hand injury.

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Thoughts, musings, and observations from the Pens’ 4-1 loss against the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena.

* First of all, it was fantastic getting the chance to play at Little Caesars Arena. When we first got to the building, players went straight to the visitors bench to get their first look. What stood out the most was just how, well, red everything is, as every seat in the entire bowl is a vivid shade of crimson. After that, we toured the concourse and were impressed by the mix of old and new. They brought over all of the statues of Red Wings greats like Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay from Joe Louis Arena, which were spread out by a bunch of cool Detroit-themed restaurants and bars. Just a cool atmosphere.

* Joe Louis Arena was infamous for its bouncy back boards, and the players joked that they made sure to test out the back boards here to make sure they didn’t have the same elasticity. “Some of the guys mentioned the first thing they wanted to test out were how the boards reacted, so you saw a couple guys shooting pucks against the boards and seeing what was happening,” goalie Tristan Jarry said. “I did a couple times too to make sure.”

* Tonight was Jarry’s first full game of the preseason, and I thought he looked solid while facing a lot of quality chances against, including a few odd-man rushes. He was in net for three of the goals, as the fourth was an empty-netter, and some of them were just skilled hockey plays. “I thought he made some real good saves at times during the game for us,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “I thought he might have lost his focus on one of those goals. But overall, I thought he made some real good saves.”

* Sullivan wasn’t as pleased with the play of the guys in front of Jarry. “I thought at times, we were competing hard. Didn’t like the second period at all. I thought the second period, we got outcompeted and we talked about that in between periods. That’s the one thing that we can control out there. It starts with puck battles and wall play and just being more determined than the guy you’re playing against. I thought the second period we got outcompeted. I thought the first period we had a pretty strong period. In the third period I thought we played pretty well.”

* Pittsburgh’s lone goal of the game came off the stick of Scott Wilson on a heads-up play. A Wings player, who was the last man back, lost his footing while in possession of the puck. Wilson jumped on it and went in alone on Jimmy Howard, beating him five-hole.

* The Pens had another tremendous scoring chance thanks to a phenomenal play from Thomas Di Pauli. Di Pauli got tripped, but managed to reach out and force a turnover while flat on his stomach. He got the puck right to Freddie Tiffels alone in front, who tried to deke but got denied. If they could have finished off that play, it would have been incredible.

* Greg McKegg continues to impress. He was in and around the net all night making plays. He has so much speed and uses it to be so hard on pucks, and creates a lot for himself and his teammates as a result. At one point he overtook a defender to force a turnover and get the puck to Chad Ruhwedel for a scoring opportunity, and at another point he received a nice pass, gained the zone and started a strong O-zone shift. It feels like McKegg keeps building on every game, and right now, it feels like he’s the top contender for that third-line center position.