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Pens Points: Panthers in Pittsburgh

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Penguins begin busiest portion of their 2018-19 schedule against the Panthers tonight in Pittsburgh.

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

If the Penguins hope to make this season’s Stanley Cup playoffs, then the next three weeks will be make or break for their hopes. Starting tonight against the Panthers, the Penguins will embark on the busiest portion of their 2018-19 schedule with 12 games in 21 days.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcasted on AT&T Sports Network.

Stay warm on this chilly Tuesday with a new Pens Points...

A big week from Sidney Crosby helped push the Penguins back into playoff positioning, and the captain was rewarded for his efforts. His four-point performance on Saturday night was just a part of his eight-point weekly total, good enough to earn Crosby NHL “Third Star of the Week” honors. [Pensburgh]

Taking five out of a possible six points during the last week of play vaulted the Penguins back into playoff position. Victories over fellow playoff bubble teams, the Blue Jackets and Canadiens, made the victories all the more important. They’ll need to keep that momentum rolling as they prepare to enter the busiest portion of their 2018-19 schedule. [Pensburgh]

Dominik Simon is a player you notice on the ice but rarely on the score sheet. For fans, he can be the most frustrating type of player, one who shows the skills necessary to play at the highest level but never able to convert. From a coaching perspective, Simon is exactly the type of player Mike Sullivan is looking for. [Pensburgh]

As the playoff race heats up and the Penguins schedules hits another gear, some much needed reinforcements may be on the way. At Monday’s practice, injured defensemen Kris Letang and Olli Maatta both skated for the first time since going down with injuries. Brian Dumoulin also rotated in on the top pairing. At this point, there’s still no timetable for their return, but it’s a positive step. [Pensburgh]

The Penguins and general manager Jim Rutherford announced Monday that the team signed Slovenian forward Jan Drozg to a three-year, entry-level contract. Drozg figures to start in the AHL, where he’ll surely have quality players surrounding him. [Pensburgh]

Many Penguins fans blamed Wayne Simmons for concussing Brian Dumoulin with a high, hard hit during the Stadium Series game on February 23. Dumoulin, on the other hand, placed the blame for his injury on the unforgiving glass at Lincoln Financial Field. [Trib Live]

It has been 15 games since Phil Kessel found the back of the net and it’s starting to wear on the Penguins right winger. Last scoring on January 30, Kessel went the entire month of February without a goal and he’s starting to run out of answers as to why. [Trib Live]

Two seasons ago, Sidney Crosby reached the 1,000 point milestone for his career. Now, his superstar teammate Evgeni Malkin is on the cusp of reaching the 1,000 point plateau himself. Sitting on 996 career points, there is a good chance Malkin could reach the 1K mark at home this week. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Malkin has been a nice 1B to Crosby’s 1A here in Pittsburgh, and he’s put together one heck of a career for himself with more still to come. His ability, combined with his size and strength, allows him to do things his teammates could only dream of doing. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

We already know Sidney Crosby was named the NHL’s third star of the week, but it was former teammate and good friend Marc-Andre Fleury who took home the top prize as the No. 1 star. Sandwiched between the two friends was Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets. [NHL]

NHL and Detroit Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay passed away on Monday at the age of 93. Lindsay spent 14 seasons with the Red Wings, winning four Stanley Cups between 1950-1955. His No. 7 is retired by the Red Wings and Lindsay was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991. [Detroit Free Press]