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Pens Points: Duel with the Devil(s)

Penguins complete mini-road trip with showdown against Devils; look to avoid season sweep. Michigan Tech prospect inks deal with Pens. Sullivan must stress importance of effort every night. No practice means a lot of NHL news.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hopefully Tuesday night served as a wake up call for the Penguins and they have a better showing this evening when they take on the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center in Newark. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.

No practice means little Pens news but you can still catch up with today’s Pens Points...

College hockey season is wrapping up which means players on teams who have eliminated may begin signing pro deals with NHL clubs. Dane Birks of Michigan Tech is the latest NCAA prospect to come into the fold for the Penguins with a two year entry level contract that will begin next season. [Pensburgh]

It was more than just a loss on the scoreboard the Pens suffered on Tuesday night in Detroit. Newly acquired Derick Brassard went down with a lower body injury in the second period and missed the remainder of the contest. If Brassard does miss significant time, there are plenty of ways the Penguins can adjust their lineup on game night. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Another frustrating loss to a bad team on Tuesday night brought out the worst in this Penguins’ team and at times it appeared as if they did not care at all. While it can be difficult to get up for all 82 games every year, points are of the utmost importance and Mike Sullivan needs to make effort a top priority over these final games. [Pensburgh]

Even if the Penguins wrap up a playoff spot in the coming days, their remaining schedule will still be important since their results down the stretch will likely by the determining factor in who they play in the first round of the playoffs. [Trib Live]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Injuries will always be a part of hockey as they will with any sport but thanks to improved training, recovery, and an evolving game the modern NHL is going through the golden age of ironmen. [ESPN]

In an league first, the NHL Department of Player Safety has handed Brad Marchand a whopping 10 game suspension for a hit on his own teammate Matt Grzelcyk during a game against the Winnipeg Jets. What makes this especially harsh was the hit was delivered by Jets’ defenseman Josh Morrissey. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]

As the season comes to a close, it’s a good time to check in on the teams who will not be making the postseason and what odds they will have in the draft lottery. At the time of this writing, the Buffalo Sabres hold the best overall odds to claim the top pick at 18.5%. The Ottawa Senators hold the second best odds at 14.0% and the Arizona Coyotes round out the top three with 11.5%. [Eyes on the Prize]

Penn State’s all-time leading scorer Andrew Sturtz decided to leave college a year early and signed an entry level deal with the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday. Sturtz participated in the Penguins’ prospect camp this past summer. [USCHO]

Boston Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara inked a one year extension with the team on Wednesday at a team friendly cap hit of $5 million. Chara is 41 and will be playing in his 20th NHL season next year. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]