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Pens Points: Buffalo Bound

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Penguins head north for road meeting with a desperate Sabres team. Get ready for the game by catching up on the latest team news in today’s Pens Points.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a big win over the Capitals on Tuesday night means the Penguins will have to avoid a letdown game tonight when they take on the Buffalo Sabres. Just because they created some breathing space for themselves in the playoff picture doesn’t mean the Penguins can afford to slip up against a team on the outside looking in.

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

Get read for game day with today’s edition of Pens Points...

Tuesday night was a historic night inside PPG Paints Arena where the Penguins defeated the Capitals 5-3 in a crazy comeback. It was about more than just the victory as the two greatest Russian hockey players of all time hit career milestones on the same night. [Pensburgh]

To celebrate Evgeni Malkin reaching the 1,000 point mark, his parents Natalia and Vladimir wrote their son a letter congratulating him for his accomplishment. The letter details his early days playing the game in Russia through his triumphs in the NHL. [Penguins]

Malkin’s wife Anna, a Russian journalist, gave an interview a few weeks back detailing the couple’s relationship. The interview originally ran on the NHL’s Russian website but has been translated to English and posted by the Pens for fans to read. [Penguins]

Following Tuesday night’s game, messages poured in from around the hockey world to congratulate Malkin for his career feat. Over on the Penguins twitter page, messages from former teammates Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Kunitz, and Max Talbot were posted. Inside the Penguins locker room, his current teammates said more of the same. [Trib Live]

At the final horn of Tuesday night’s contest, there was a little fracas on the ice and several players came together. Two of those players were Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin near the penalty box area. What looked to be less than cordial was actually Crosby telling Ovechkin congratulation on reaching the 1,200 point mark for his career. [Trib Live]

Evgeni Malkin’s journey to a 1,000 points has taken him over a dozen seasons and some 800+ games. Well above a point per game pace for his career, Malkin reached the milestone despite not playing a full 82 game season since 2008-09. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

In a shocking turn of events, Erik Gudbranson has been rather good for the Penguins since coming over at the trade deadline. This has an added boost giving just how desperate the Penguins were for blue line help at the time of his acquisition. Only time will tell if he can continue this type of play. [Pensburgh]

Gudbranson did not score on Tuesday night, but he did endear himself to the Penguins faithful. Early in the third period, Capitals resident trash can Tom Wilson took a run at Jake Guentzel following a whistle. Gudbranson stepped in to defend the smaller Guentzel by taking Wilson to the ice with a textbook tackle. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Minnesota has a reputation of being “The State of Hockey” and the NHL Network is feeding into that with a special running on Sunday called “Minnesota Natives.” Penguins center Nick Bjugstad will be included in the feature and the preview shows him putting his wicked wrist shot on display. [Pensburgh]

Every game from here to the end of the regular season will be important for the Penguins in their chase for a playoff spot, but a few will carry a little more weight depending on who they are going up against. [Pensburgh]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Controversy struck the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night when it appeared defenseman Morgan Rielly uttered a homophobic slur towards a linesman. While the NHL did investigate and determined Rielly did not utter the slur, there is still a lesson to be taken from the Maple Leafs immediate response to the situation. [USA Today]

The Philadelphia Flyers push for a playoff spot will have to carry on through the next two games without forward Jakub Voracek. On Wednesday, the NHL upheld Vorcek’s two game suspension for interference over the weekend. [NHL]