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Pens Points: Showdown in Motown

Pens head to Detroit to face-off with Red Wings. Michigan native Rust looking forward to facing childhood team. Sheahan rebounding in Pittsburgh after rough season last year. Goaltender Murray not concerned about shot totals. Letang proving to be minute machine a year after neck surgery.

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

(Reminder: We are hosting a Pensburgh meetup this Saturday before the game at Souper Bowl across from the arena beginning at 5 PM. All details can be found here)

We are into the final two weeks of the regular season but there is still work left to do for the Penguins if they hope to win a third straight Stanley Cup. This evening they are in Detroit for a showdown with the lowly Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 PM and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.

Prepare for the game with this Tuesday morning edition of Pens Points:

Derick Brassard has been a member of the Penguins for a month now and he’s beginning to settle in and make an impact on a regular basis. We know who to expect from Brassard on the ice, but off the ice, the Canadian center has a lot more going on than you may not know about. [Penguins]

Growing up in Michigan, forward Bryan Rust was a Red Wings watching NHL legends like Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom win multiple Stanley Cups. Now a professional himself, Rust may not be wearing the famous winged wheel but he does enjoy returning home to take on his childhood team. [Trib Live]

A year ago, now Penguins forward Riley Sheahan almost played a full 82 game season without scoring a goal as a member of the Red Wings. In fact, the only two goals he did score on the season both came in the final game of the year. Now in Pittsburgh and heading to the playoffs, Sheahan is enjoying a renaissance of sorts with 28 points so far this year. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

There can be many complaints about certain aspects of Kris Letang’s play this season, especially on the defensive end. One area you cannot complain however is his ability to soak up key minutes of playing time on any night. Without Letang last season, the minutes burden had to be spread out amongst the healthy blue liners. [Trib Live]

On Sunday against the Flyers, the Penguins surrendered 45 shots to the visiting side. They have given up 30+ shots to opponents in four of five games before Sunday as well. As a goaltender, Matt Murray is tasked with stopping the shots coming his way but he is not concerned about the volume he has been facing lately. {Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Currently sitting at 17th in the league, the penalty kill has been a hot button issue for the Penguins throughout this campaign. Best described at inconsistent this season, the Pens PK units are looking for a strong final stretch of the season to build confidence heading into the playoffs. [Penguins]

An up and down year for Conor Sheary appears to be projecting upwards at the moment with the young winger finding his groove on the third line alongside Phil Kessel and Derick Brassard. [Pensburgh]

News and notes from around the NHL...

As the first director of the NHL’s social impact initiative, former defenseman Andrew Ference believes the NHL needs a stronger focus on hockey at the community level and engaging minority fans and players to help grow the game going forward. [ESPN]

The Toronto Maple Leafs will finish the regular season with over a 100 points in the standings good for third place in the Atlantic division. Their reward for such a great season will be a first round matchup with either the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning. Forward Nazem Kadri is not thrilled how the NHL’s playoff system will pit them against one of the top teams in the East right out of the gate. [Sportsnet]