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Locker Room Conversations with Shelly Anderson

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Pittsburgh Penguins brian dumoulin
PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 17: Pittsburgh Penguins Defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) looks on during the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 17, 2018, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. The Penguins defeated the Maple Leafs 5-3. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

Who says hockey players aren’t sticklers for exact stats and details? More than once Tuesday after practice, the Penguins emphasized something about their season: They haven’t clinched a playoff spot yet.

“We don’t have that X next to our name yet,” defenseman Brian Dumoulin said, as an example.

OK. Point taken. No NHL team has secured a berth in the Stanley Cup marathon, otherwise known as the playoffs. The Penguins, at 84 points with 12 games remaining, would have to suffer a substantial collapse to miss the cut.

So, with that caveat, we set out to find out what the top priorities are over this last leg of the stretch run of the regular season. This is, after all, a veteran club in terms of navigating the waning weeks. The Penguins were scrambling for position at this time the past two seasons, then went on to win the Stanley Cup.

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Shelly is the newest columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

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