Courtesy of PNC

Stats ‘N’ At: Murray’s true status, Steelers’ imbalance, Pirates’ rotation


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Photo-illustration - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Despite markedly better play since the start of December, the Penguins enter their bye week and the NHL All-Star break with a tenuous hold on a playoff spot and a smorgasbord of unanswered questions.

Can they clamp down on the ill-advised pinches and passes that fuel the other team's offensive game?

Can Evgeni Malkin clear his head and rediscover his game in five-on-five play? Will Derick Brassard ever emerge as the high-end third-line center that Jim Rutherford envisioned?

When Justin Schultz is healthy, which of the team's baker's dozen or so of defensemen will suit up?

One question that the Penguins have answered, however, is who's the number one guy in the net. Since returning from a lower-body injury in mid-December, Matt Murray has arguably been the best goaltender in the NHL while restoring faith in his ability to help carry this talented, if flawed team into another Stanley Cup run.

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