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Pens Points: One More Before the Road

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Penguins host Panthers in final home game before long Western Conference road trip. Get yourself ready for the contest with this Tuesday morning edition of Pens Points.

NHL: Florida Panthers at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Winning streak now a thing of the past, the Penguins will look to get back on track tonight when they welcome the Florida Panthers to town for an Eastern Conference showdown at PPG Paints Arena. The game will mark the first meeting between the two sides this season and it will also be the last home game for the Penguins until January 28th. Following the contest, the Penguins will head west for a five game road trip through California, Arizona, and Nevada then return home for their bye week and All-Star break.

Tonight’s matchup will begin at 7:00 PM and be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.

Get yourself ready for tonight’s game with a fresh edition of Pens Points...

It may be hard to believe but it has been nearly a full decade since the Penguins won their inaugural Stanley Cup of the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin era all the way back in 2009. Sunday night’s ceremony honoring the team was well done by the organization and made us all feel old at the same time. [Pensburgh]

While the Penguins were busy celebrating the 2009 Stanley Cup team on Sunday night, a less glamorous anniversary flew under the radar. This Thursday, January 10th, marks the 13th anniversary of the famous post game rant by former head coach Michel Therrien. Following an ugly 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Therrien ripped into his squad, leaving no one safe from his wrath. [Pensburgh]

With the Penguins in the heat of the playoff race and the trade deadline rapidly approaching, expect to hear a lot of rumors regarding players the Penguins might in the market for. One name to keep an eye on at the moment is Micheal Ferland of the Carolina Hurricanes. [Pensburgh]

Sunday’s loss brought an abrupt end to the Penguins winning streak and put a bad taste back in the player’s mouths. Now over the midway point of the season and winning streak behind them, the team can focus on where they are and where they need to be. [Trib Live]

Even when they were struggling early in the season, special teams was a strong area for the Penguins on the ice. During their most recent loss to the Blackhawks on Sunday, special teams turned out to be their achilles heel. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Looking to avoid another disappointing night on the power play when they return to action, head coach Mike Sullivan focused heavily on the unit during Monday’s practice both on the ice and in the film room. [Trib Live]

Early in his career, Sidney Crosby was a near regular on the Penguins penalty kill before his role was scaled back by the coaching staff. Now at age 31, Crosby is once again seeing his penalty kill role expanded and he is loving the new opportunity to help his team. [Trib Live]

If the Penguins were to hand out a “Most Improved Player” award then the unquestioned winner would be defenseman Kris Letang. Coming off a healthy offseason, Letang has emerged as one of the best blue liners in hockey after a season of struggles last year. [NBCSports]

Coming off a conditioning stint in the AHL, Chad Ruhwedel is back with the Penguins and felt good getting some game action under his belt even if it was not where he hoped to be playing. Ruhwedel will slot back in as the eighth defenseman on the NHL roster but it remains to be seen just how much playing time he will get. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames continued his scorching play last week with 11 points in five games to propel his team to first place in the Western Conference. Those numbers were good enough to land Gaudreau “First Star of the Week” honors from the NHL where he was joined by Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks and Robin Lehner of the New York Islanders. [NHL]

Recently back from injury, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has elected to skip the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose. Price has opted to use the break to recover as it coincides with the team’s mandated bye week. Price will be forced to sit out one game for his decision to skip. [Sporting News]