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Pens Points: No Show in Chicago

Pens turn in ugly performance against Blackhawks leading to a 6-3 loss. Bryan Rust snaps goal drought with hat trick but no one else shows up. Start off your day by putting the loss behind you with a new edition of Pens Points.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Chicago Blackhawks David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Whatever good feeling the Penguins had from this past stretch of good results was quickly washed away with a letdown performance against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. Bryan Rust broke out of his goal scoring drought with a hat trick but he was the only Pens player to show up to United Center for the game as the Blackhawks broke an eight game losing streak with a 6-3 victory. [Pensburgh]

The Penguins return to action on Friday night back home at PPG Paints Arena taking on the Boston Bruins.

Get your day started right with this Thursday edition of Pens Points...

Prior to puck drop against the Blackhawks, the Penguins activated goaltender Matt Murray from injured reserve and made his available for the contest. To make room on the roster, Tristan Jarry was sent back down to the AHL. [Pensburgh]

Along with Murray, the Penguins also announced forward Matt Cullen is healthy as has been activated from injured reserve. Patric Hornqvist was moved to injured reserve retroactive to December 6th in a corresponding move. [Penguins]

Since joining the Penguins via trade last season, Derick Brassard has maybe not exactly been what most fans hoped when the trade was announced. When you look at Brassard’s performance since coming to Pittsburgh, where he has played primarily as a third line center, you can see he is performing almost exactly at the level to be expected. [Pensburgh]

As long as the Penguins are in playoff contention they will be viewed as buyers in the trade market. Once the new year hits the playoff push will officially be on and the trade deadline will be less than two months away. Knowing they will need to upgrade to make a Stanley Cup run, could the Penguins be in the market for a big name blue liner? [Pensburgh]

Head coach Mike Sullivan prefers to spread the scoring around when crafting his lineup but with injuries that is not always possible. With Patric Hornqvist and Dominik Simon out, the Penguins lines can be categorized as scoring and non-scoring, or as Zach Aston-Reese explained, it’s a little like American politics. [Trib Live]

Over the past decade, the Penguins and Blackhawks have been two of the premier franchises in the NHL with six Stanley Cup titles between them since 2009. With the Blackhawks seemingly coming undone, the Penguins are doing their best to not fall into the same traps that killed their Western Conference counterparts. [Hockeybuzz]

News and notes from around the NHL...

When you’re a superstar in the NHL there is always going to be a burden on you to perform. For some players, that burden is amplified based on the talent around them. For instance, Connor McDavid acts as a one-man show in Edmonton while Sidney Crosby has benefitted from Evgeni Malkin by his side in Pittsburgh. [ESPN]

After years of complaints that the NHL was suffering from a lack of goal scoring the trend is beginning to swing in the other direction. This season’s offensive surge has increased goal scoring league wide and put 11 players on pace to score 50 or more goals this season. [Sportsnet]