OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Matt Murray finally got a chance to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he put on a show for some of his former teammates. Former backup Casey DeSmith was just a little better though.
DeSmith made 26 saves in outdueling Murray and Pittsburgh won its fifth straight road game with a 2-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
“They were dialed in on all aspects of the game and a pretty textbook game by them,” Murray said of his old team. “We battled, we stayed in the game and if we had gotten one it could have gone in either way.
Murray, who helped the Penguins win consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and ’17 before being dealt to Ottawa in 2020, still had fun making 42 saves in his first game against the Penguins since the trade.
Jeff Carter had the game-winning goal in the second period. Sidney Crosby blocked a late shot in close before assisting on Bryan Rust’s game-icing, empty-net goal in the waning seconds. The Penguins have won two straight and are 8-1-3 in their last 12.
Carter gave the Penguins the lead at 7:25 of the second period. Defenseman Chris Letang made the big play stepping up to intercept a pass in the Senator’s zone and finding Carter for his 13th of the season. It was his first in seven games.
“It was a pretty solid 60 minutes throughout the lineup,” Carter said. “They’re a good team, they play fast, they’re a skilled team and they got some chances. Casey made some big saves for us, but I think it was probably our most complete game in a long time.”
Rust, who now has six goals in the last four games, skated the puck into an empty net with 12 to play for the last goal.
Due to COVID-19-related restrictions in Ontario, capacity was limited to 500 fans. There was pumped-in crowd noise that was reminiscent of pandemic hockey a year ago.
Murray met with former teammates before the pregame skate. Crosby welcomed him with a quick smile and a warm hug. Rust gave him a playful salute. Jake Guentzel hit him with a fist bump.
In getting his first win in five weeks, Smith got the nod with Tristan Jarry getting a well-deserved breather. He wasn’t tested a lot but he stopped a pair of breakaways when the game was still scoreless in the second period.
“I was fortunate to make some saves tonight and everyone in front of me did the rest,” DeSmith said.
The loss snapped the Senators’ two-game overall winning streak, and three-game run at home.
“If anything, I think we could have done a better job getting at their goalie and creating some loose pucks,” Senators forward Austin Watson said. “Other than that, Murray was great and you want to get that one for him. He was outstanding.”
Crosby remains one goal shy of becoming the second active player (Alex Ovechkin), and the 46th player in NHL history, to record 500 career regular-season goals. Crosby took six shots on Murray without success.
Penguins: Head to New Jersey to play a matinee on Sunday against the Devils.
Senators: Host Boston on Saturday afternoon.