Sometime during practice today, Terry Murray let Erik Ersberg know that he would be starting in goal tomorrow night against Florida. A bit later, Ersberg must have seen that opportunity flash before his eyes when Jarret Stoll deflected a puck that hit Ersberg flush on the side of his knee. As previously posted, Ersberg was down for a while and left the ice but returned, albeit gingerly, to finish practice.
After practice, everyone — including Ersberg, Jason LaBarbera and Terry Murray — attributed the incident to the reduced protection that goalies have around the knee/mid-leg area. The new equipment rules were designed to make goalies look less like “Michelin men,” but they also leave areas of the body exposed. Ersberg suffered a deep bruise on the other knee in training camp on a similar shot, and said he took a puck in a similar situation just last week.
Assuming the injury doesn’t turn more serious, Ersberg will start tomorrow. He looked solid against the Ducks and stopped 26 of 27 shots in a 1-0 overtime loss.
ERSBERG: “It’s a lot easier to start a game than come in. You get the warmups and everything. I got off to a good start too. They had a power play and I got a couple pretty easy shots to stop, so I got into my rhythm early. That was a good start, and then I felt like normal after that.”
MURRAY: “Yeah, I’m going to go back to him tomorrow. He played very well. As I mentioned after the game, I thought his composure was good. He was under control, he was on the puck, he made some nice stops, some big stops. He’d been waiting his turn and he took advantage of it, so he deserves another opportunity right away.”