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Pens Points: Go West, You Penguins

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Penguins get an extra day off as they travel to sunny California to begin five game Western Conference road trip. Keep yourself warm and start your Thursday off right with a new edition of Pens Points.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since Christmas, the Penguins have more than just one day off between games as they hop on a plane and head to sunny California to begin a five-game Western Conference road trip. The first game of extended stay out West begins on Friday and features all three California squads before wrapping up with contests against the Coyotes and Golden Knights next weekend.

Keep warm with this Thursday edition of Pens Points...

Tuesday night resulted in a win for the Penguins but it may have come at a cost. Forward Zach Aston-Reese left the game following a fight and now it appears he may be out for an extended period. Aston-Reese has been placed on injured reserve and Garrett Wilson has been recalled from the AHL. [Pensburgh]

There is inherent risk playing on the power play but someone has to do it and the Penguins are better than most of the league when is comes to killing penalties. Recently we have seen Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel on the ice during the penalty kill and underlying numbers show it may just be worth the risk. [Pensburgh]

Last week, an explosion at an apartment complex in Evgeni Malkin’s hometown of Magnitogorsk, Russia claimed the lives of 39 people according to reports. To help aid the victims and their families, Malkin donated four million rubles (~$60,000 USD) to a special fund set up in the wake of the tragedy. [Trib Live]

It is safe the say the first half of the Penguins season was a rather eventful roller coaster ride with ups and downs all over the place. Between sweeping their Canadian road trip in October then falling flat once they returned home, there is plenty to take away from the first 41 games of hockey. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Since his hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks in mid-December, Bryan Rust has been on fire playing alongside Sidney Crosby on the top line. His two goal effort on Tuesday night pushed his season total to 11 and his resurgence has helped the Pens bounce back from their slow start. [Trib Live]

Penguins great and two time Stanley Cup champion with the franchise will be premiering his Boston-based radio show on Pittsburgh airwaves. Stevens’ show, titled “Crosscheck,” will air on 92.5 FM/1250 AM on Saturdays from 10 AM-11 AM. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Sidney Crosby (and maybe Kris Letang) will be donning this very special jersey when he takes part in the NHL All-Star Game later this month. More on the jerseys below.

News and notes from around the NHL...

Hiring a new coach is always risky but it comes with the territory if you’re an NHL general manager. Last offseason, a handful of teams brought in new blood behind the bench and for many the changes are paying off in a big way so far. [CBC]

For the first time ever, the NHL All-Star Game jerseys will feature team logos on the front instead of the typical NHL shield emblem. The jerseys are also made out of recycled plastic debris in hopes of bringing more attention to oceanic pollution. [CBS Sports]