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Pens Points: Tour de Canada

Penguins kickoff a four-game Canadian road trip tonight in Toronto against the red hot Maple Leafs. Catch up on all the latest news with this Thursday edition of Pens Points.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

A trek across Canada begins tonight for the Penguins, as they head to Toronto to take on red hot Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs. This kicks off a four-game road trip that takes the Pens across the Great White North over the course of almost two weeks. Following tonight’s contest, the Penguins then head west for games in Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver for the team’s annual Western Canada swing.

Puck drop this evening is set for 7:00 p.m. and will broadcast on AT&T Sports Network. This will be the last early start time until the Pens return home on Halloween.

Drop the puck on your Thursday morning with today’s Pens Points...

Following a second straight overtime loss on Tuesday night, the Penguins returned to practice Wednesday with a few changes. Juuso Riikola didn’t practice, but there’s no need to worry, as head coach Mike Sullivan called it a maintenance day for the defender. As for players who did practice, Derick Brassard returned to his normal center position on the third line. [Pensburgh]

Through five games this season, the Penguins have been able to collect points in four, but have not looked their best doing so. Many wonder when the “real” Penguins will start to show up for games, but maybe this is exactly who we should expect them to be with the current roster. [Pensburgh]

So far this season, the Penguins have ended games in the following manner: overtime win, regulation loss, regulation win, shootout loss, and overtime loss. The only remaining possible outcome is a shootout win. It’s hard to get more all over the board this early in the season than the Penguins have to this point. [Trib Live]

Sidney Crosby is off to an unexpected slow start to the new season, scoring only four points in his first five games — none of them goals. While the puck may not be going in the net for Crosby at the moment, there are signs that could rapidly change. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

You didn’t hear anything about it, but the Penguins made a very important minor league call-up yesterday. Looking to use the salary cap to their advantage, the Penguins recalled Jeff Taylor from the AHL to help maximize the savings they can get from placing Justin Schultz on long term injured reserve (LTIR). [Pensburgh]

A few weeks ago, Matt Murray unveiled his new “Saves MATTer” initiative to help kids in need by donating money for every save he makes. Murray’s teammates Bryan Rust and Riley Sheahan are also giving back to the youth in the Pittsburgh community by teaming up to buy four season tickets for Allegheny Family Network. [Penguins]

In recent weeks, the Penguins have gone through a few changes you won’t be seeing on the ice. A few new faces entered the front office, and team president David Morehouse is excited about how the changes could help build the Penguins brand in the future. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

A year ago, the hit leveled by Mike Matheson on Elias Pettersson would hardly garner a look from the Department of Player Safety. Now that Matheson has been leveled a two-game suspension for the incident, could the DoPS finally be catching up with the modern game? [Sportsnet]

Every sport has its own set of unwritten rules, and hockey is no different. The problem is, these rules are often archaic, out of date, and suck the fun out of the game. Luckily for hockey fans, a new wave of young talent has entered the league and is paying little attention to the game’s unwritten rules. [The Ringer]

After ten months away from the ice, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is expected to return to game action tonight against the Arizona Coyotes. This will be Crawford’s first game since December 23, 2017 as he dealt with lingering concussion symptoms most of last season. [Bleacher Report]