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Pens Points: Florida Swing

Penguins head south to kick-off three game road trip with Florida swing starting against the Panthers. Catch Up on the latest headline with today’s Pens Points.

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

Mired in a 5-7-0 skid since their eight game winning streak, the Penguins head back to the road hoping some of that magic returns as they head south for a brief Florida swing beginning tonight against the Florida Panthers. It will be a reunion of sorts for new Penguins Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann while the Penguins take on former teammates Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.

Spice up your morning with a new edition of Pens Points...

Justin Schultz is rapidly approaching his much anticipated return to the Penguins lineup and his presence will be welcome on a struggling blue line. As much having Schultz back in the lineup will help the Penguins on the ice, one player will not be enough to fix all what ails them. [Pensburgh]

With Schultz expected to make his return any game now it should be no surprise he will travel with the Penguins on their upcoming three game road trip beginning tonight against the Florida Panthers. [CBS Sports]

Right as the Penguins received good news on the injury front they get a dose of negative to go along with it. Oft-injured goaltender Matt Murray is undergoing evaluation for a potential upper-body injury but a concussion was ruled out by Mike Sullivan. No further details about Murray’s status were provided. [Pensburgh]

Back in a bit of a funk with their recent play, head coach Mike Sullivan used Wednesday’s practice to mix up the forward lines and defense combinations in an attempt to rediscover that winning formula for a few weeks back. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Winger Patric Hornqvist offered up an interesting explanation for what he believes if hurting the Penguins more than anything at the moment. Hornqvist feels the team is not stringing together enough successful shifts on the ice and it’s leading to a loss in momentum going the other way. [Trib Live]

Based on what his former Panthers teammates are saying, the Penguins are getting much more than just a good hockey player in Nick Bjugstad. During his time in Florida, Bjugstad cultivated a reputation as being one of the best teammates anyone could ask for. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux will always be inextricably linked for many reasons and deservingly so given their career success. Off the ice however, Crosby and Lemieux do have some differences. For one, Crosby is an openly superstitious player when it comes to pregame rituals while Lemieux never bought into a specific pregame routine. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Since the NHL likes to bill its outdoor games as a huge celebration of the game, they bring in big name acts to perform during intermissions. For the Stadium Series contest between the Penguins and Flyers in a few weeks, country music star Keith Urban will take to the stage to entertain the crowd during the first intermission. [KDKA]

News and notes from around the NHL...

There could be a few big name players moved before the NHL trade deadline but it remains to be seen just how many teams are willing to pull the trigger this early. With so many teams within reasonable striking distance of a playoff spot, trades could come at a slower pace until the race sorts itself out. [CBC]

There are a few teams waving the white flag on this season and moving whatever assets they have to build for the future. One of those teams is the New Jersey Devils who traded winger Brian Boyle to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday for a second round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. [NHL]