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Pens Points: Viva Las Vegas

Penguins head west for showdown with Fleury and the Golden Knights. It’s going to be a late night so get your morning started right with today’s Pens Points.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s back to the road and back out west for the Penguins as they head to Las Vegas for their annual trip to Sin City and a meeting with the Vegas Golden Knights. This will be the second meeting between the two sides this season, after the Golden Knights defeated the Penguins 3-0 back in October in Pittsburgh.

Puck drop is scheduled for 10:00 PM and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.

Get ready for another late night with Pens Points...

Well past the initial six week minimum window for recovery from sports hernia surgery, the return of captain Sidney Crosby seems closer than ever. After skating with teammates since the holiday, it appears Crosby is now traveling with the team out west. [Trib Live]

Sunday marked the beginning of the second half of the Penguins season and a chance to put an injury riddled, albeit successful, first half behind them. Even with all the man games missed, we learned a lot about the Penguins through the first 41 games. [Pensburgh]

Just looking at the injury list for the Penguins through the first half of the season and you wouldn’t blame them if they were sitting on the playoff bubble at the moment. That’s not the case however, as the Pens have battled through and produced 55 points. [Penguins]

With all the injuries up and down the Penguins lineup in the first half, the team relied on their depth to carry them. Guys like Bryan Rust, John Marino, Brandon Tanev, and Tristan Jarry all performed when called upon. [Pensburgh]

If you were to pick a first half MVP for the Penguins the honor has to go to Jake Guentzel for his outstanding play in the face of the injury crisis. Other honorees for their strong play include the likes of Tristan Jarry and John Marino. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Jake Guentzel is out until at least the playoffs and perhaps even longer after sustaining a shoulder injury. His absence leaves a gaping hole in the Penguins lineup that general manager Jim Rutherford is already searching to fill. [Trib Live]

The Penguins continue to shuffle bodies between the big club and the farm club down in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. This time it’s Andrew Agozzino getting the call up in exchange for Thomas Di Pauli heading back to the AHL. [Penguins]

One of the wildest moments involving the Penguins from the last decade occurred during the lockout shortened season in 2013. As one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, the Penguins loaded up by trading for Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames. [Penguins]

Speaking of wild stories, Casey DeSmith missed his chance to be called up for the first time this season after losing his passport. With the Penguins headed to Montreal, DeSmith needed his passport to travel with the team but it was nowhere to be found. [CBS Sports]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Nathan MacKinnon posted nearly three points per game over the last week of play and was rewarded with “First Star of the Week” honors from the NHL. Joining MacKinnon in the awards haul this week were Mark Scheifele and Zach Werenski. [NHL]

Another World Juniors tournament has come and gone with several NHL prospects under the microscope. For some fanbases, prospects from across the world gave them a lot to be excited about in the future. [The Hockey News]

It’s another two years until the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, but NHL participation is already a hot topic. IIHF President René Fasel has put a late August deadline on a decision from the league regarding if they will be sending their players to Beijing. [NBC Sports]