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Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens’ 6-3 win against the Minnesota Wild at PPG Paints Arena.

* The Pens continue to trend upward. Pittsburgh won its 7th game in the past 9, which includes a 4-game winning streak. With the win the Pens hopped into 2nd place in the Metro Division (barring the outcome of Columbus at Arizona). Just 3 weeks ago many had left the Pens for dead. Once again they’ve risen from the ashes.

* Sidney Crosby’s legacy is well set in the city of Pittsburgh. Although Mario Lemieux is the greatest player to ever wear a Penguins sweater (or play the game in general for that matter), Crosby removed any question as to which player is the second greatest to don the black and gold.

Crosby picked up 3 assists against the Wild to give him 1,082 career points, surpassing Jaromir Jagr (1,079) for second place on the team’s all-time scoring list. And now only Lemieux (1,723) stands between Crosby and the mountaintop.

* Sticking with the Crosby theme, he now has a season-long 9-game scoring streak for 19 points (3G-16A). That gives him 55 total on the season, and he has inched his way to within 6 (barring other game outcomes) of Nikita Kucherov for the NHL lead.

* Crosby surpassed Jagr in the most Crosby way ever. He backchecked into the neutral zone to steal a puck, pivoted and darted into the offensive zone before finding rookie Dominik Simon to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.

* Speaking of Simon, the 23-year-old winger scored 2 goals against Minnesota, his first career 2-goal game. And he scored both in impressive fashion, snapping off hard wrist shots form the high slot and perfectly into the corner. Simon has an incredible release on his shot, and I love seeing him not afraid to use it.

Simon has 3 goals in his past 2 games and a 3-game scoring streak (3G-1A). The rookie has looked comfortable on Crosby’s wing, and now the production is starting to come.

* While Crosby is stealing a lot of the headlines and attention, don’t forget about Phil Kessel and Malkin. Kessel picked up 3 assists while Malkin added 3 points (2G-1A). The 3-headed Monster led the charge for the Pens.

Kessel now has 58 points on the season, just 3 behind Kucherov. And Malkin stands at 52.

* The Pens welcomed back center Matt Cullen. The former Pen signed with his hometown Minnesota Wild in the offseason. Cullen was a member of the Pens’ past 2 Stanley Cup titles. He was affectionately referred to as “dad” by his teammates for his mentor and leadership role. The crowd gave Cullen a huge ovation as the “Thank You” video played for him during the 1st period.

* One negative in the game for Pittsburgh was the number of penalties taken by the team. Pittsburgh was penalized 5 times in the contest, and twice for closing their hand on the puck. Those types of mental lapses are inexcusable at this time of the season. Luckily the Pens’ PK stood tall, but it did cost rookie goalie Casey DeSmith his shutout.

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

Casey DeSmith, Andrey Pedan and Garrett Wilson have all been re-assigned to WBS.

Simon, 23, has skated in six NHL games with Pittsburgh this year, collecting a pair of assists. Both helpers came on Dec. 9 against Toronto, the first multiple-point game of his NHL career. Simon has four assists in 11 career NHL contests over the past three years.

The 5-foot-11, 176-pound Simon scored the overtime game-winning goal against the Hershey Bears on December 30 after returning to WBS that day. Simon’s goal brought his season totals in the AHL to four goals, 13 assists and 17 points in 21 games. He has points in 14 of 21 games.

Pittsburgh originally drafted the Prague, Czech Republic native in the fifth round (137th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.

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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 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.