Courtesy of PNC

Stats ‘N’ At: DeSmith’s softies, Steelers in North, Cervelli’s framing

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Casey DeSmith heads to the corner after allowing a goal Tuesday. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Welcome to Stats ‘N’ At, a weekly feature that takes a deep dive into the numbers that define our city's sports scene.

It takes an avalanche of awful circumstances for a team with the Penguins' high-end talent to be out of a playoff spot in December, including costly injuries, a lack of development (or outright regression) by key young players, and the bottom falling out of the team's bottom-six scoring.

But perhaps the most confounding aspect of this confounding club is the goaltending.

With Matt Murray ineffective and now injured, Casey DeSmith has assumed a larger role than anyone could have imagined entering the 2018-19 season. At times, DeSmith makes 10-bell saves that bail out his teammates -- the kind of saves that make you think that he could be an NHL starter, and earn himself a nice pay day this offseason as an unrestricted free agent. At other times, though, he coughs up soft goals that could earn a benching in the ECHL, much less the NHL.

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