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Pens Points: Storm Brewing

Pens return home from road trip to host Hurricanes later tonight. Rivalries bring out best from Pens this season. 5v5 play must improve for a strong second half. Fourth line finally clicks in win over Flyers, offering hope for long term solution. Jarry latest Pens goalie to be injured by rival Flyers.

NHL: JAN 02 Penguins at Flyers Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Opening the new year on the road, the Penguins return to Pittsburgh to play their first home game of 2018 when they host the division rival Carolina Hurricanes tonight at PPG Paints Arena. The Hurricanes won the first meeting between the two sides 2-1 last week. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 PM and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.

Here is your Thursday edition of Pens Points to keep you warm...

If you are heading to this evening’s game then make sure to dress appropriately and we don’t mean for the weather outside. Tonight’s game will be 1970’s themed so throw on some disco shoes before heading to the arena. This is the fourth “theme” night of the season going along with Halloween, Star Wars, and Ugly Sweater Night. [Penguins]

Halfway into the season and the Pens have barely touched the Metro part of their schedule. So far this season, the division rivalry games have brought out the best in this Penguins’ team and hopefully the carries over into the stretch run. [Trib Live]

There are a lot of things from the first half of the season that need corrected for a successful second half but none may be more important than improving their play at even strength. Through 41 games, the numbers 5v5 are ugly but some minor retooling could help fix the problem. [Pensburgh]

When a team is as inconsistent as the Penguins were in the first 41 games, it can be hard to find positives but the Pens played well enough to keep themselves above water and in the thick of the playoff chase as January arrives. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Our friends over at Pension Plan Puppets put together a piece discussing what it might take for the Maple Leafs to work a trade to get Kris Letang to Toronto. For all the fans who want Letang out of town, the return they formulaize is underwhelming. [PPP]

Tuesday night’s victory over the rival Flyers may have given the Pens more that just two points in the standings. Accounting for two goals, including the eventual game winner by Ryan Reaves, the Penguins may have finally found a fourth line that works and can produce the way they need it to. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

First it was Matt Murray and now it is Tristan Jarry who joins who cohort in goal on a list of Penguins goalies injured while playing against the Flyers. Playing goal against the cross-state rival is turning out to be a dangerous proposition. [Trib Live]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Enough has already been made about the NHL’s decision not to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics but it is still fun to speculate what the rosters may have looked like with NHL talent going to South Korea. [ESPN]

Legendary Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden came out and delivered a harsh message to the NHL about the importance of eliminating head shots from the game and to do so immediately. [New York Times]