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Pens Points: See You Wednesday

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Regular season ends with loss to Rangers as Tristan Jarry makes NHL debut. Pens kickoff Cup defense against Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. Crosby claims second Richard Trophy. Malkin ready to return for playoffs.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

A meaningless 60 minutes between the Penguins and New York Rangers were all that remained in the 2016-2017 regular season. Neither team had anything on the line and the lineups confirmed that. Each side sitting an array of everyday players the main goal was to come out injury free. With the goal scoring title all but confirmed Sidney Crosby took the night off to rest for the playoffs. Olli Maatta returned to the lineup for the first time in nearly two months. Goaltender Tristan Jarry made his first career NHL start along with AHL teammate Jean-Sebastien Dea. The Rangers won 3-2. [Trib Live]

For the second time in his career, Sidney Crosby claimed the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer. Crosby led the league with 44 goals in only 75 games played. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

It has long been known that the Pens would face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Round 1. The series will kickoff Wednesday night at 7:30 at PPG Paints Arena.

Here is the full schedule for the Penguins/Blue Jackets matchup:

In a meaningless game for the Pens they nearly played the role of spoiler against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Needing a win to clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2013, the Maple Leafs claimed a 5-3 victory thanks to late goals from rookies Connor Brown and Auston Matthews. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored his 44th goal of the season in the second period to put the Rocket Richard race on ice. [Pensburgh]

Many long time players have gone their entire careers without hoisting the Stanley Cup. Then there is the struggle Pens defenseman Ron Hainsey has faced. With 906 games under his belt, Hainsey has never played in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That will all change this week. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Over the course of the 2016-2017 season the Pens lost more than 250 man games due to injury. The team’s biometrics program has helped alleviate some of the injury woes but don’t expect too many answers on what the program consists of. [Trib Live]

Wrapping up the season on a road trip, Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin kept things loose in the locker room with a small prank battle between the two teammates. [USA Today]

Down on the farm, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins locked up the AHL Atlantic Division title for the fourth time in franchise history. In the process the team also claimed the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference, giving them home ice for the first three rounds. [Penguins]

Scoring just his second goal in 25 games on Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pens are hoping the tally is a launching pad for Phil Kessel to go on another scoring run that put him in the Conn Smythe discussion last year. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Wrapping up the season with a 31-6-4 record at PPG Paints Arena, the Pens were happy to grab the home ice advantage for their first round matchup against the Blue Jackets. [Trib Live]

There is little question Crosby was the Penguins’ MVP this season but the looming return of Evgeni Malkin could have the biggest impact on what the team does in the playoffs. [Times Online]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Blowing a 2-0 lead to the Blue Jackets on Sunday evening means the Maple Leafs will face the President’s Trophy winning Washington Capitals in Round 1. [Puck Daddy]

After being diagnosed with MS earlier in the season, Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell announced his retirement from the NHL at the end of the season. Bickell went out with a bang in his last game. [ESPN]

Here is the complete list of matchups and schedule for Round 1 of the NHL playoffs. Action gets underway on Wednesday. [NHL]