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Pens Points: Behind Closed Doors

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Penguins and Blue Jackets will meet in an empty arena amid coronavirus fears. Read about how the Penguins are handling a new reality and much more in Pens Points.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Before you dive in this morning, make sure you catch up on the news of the NBA suspending its season and the NHL’s statement reacting to the news. [Pensburgh]

Now, about tonight’s game...

In what is sure to be a surreal scene, the Penguins and Blue Jackets will face off in a crucial Metropolitan showdown behind closed doors at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Due to the growing threat of the COVID-19 outbreak spreading around the globe, tonight’s game will only feature the teams, essential personnel, media, and broadcasters.

Luckily you will still be able to watch the game from the comfort of your own home on AT&T Sports Network beginning at 7:00 PM.

Get ready for another division showdown with Pens Points...

Following discussions with local health officials, the Penguins announced that they will continue to play home games with fans in attendance. Along with this, the team will also implement a number of health measures across PPG Paints Arena. [Penguins]

While the Penguins still plan on playing with fans in arena, road games could be a very different story. That change will come tonight when the Pens take on the Blue Jackets in front of an empty Nationwide Arena in Columbus. [Pensburgh]

With the home stretch upon us, playoff seeding is starting to take shape. Right now it’s the Capitals, Flyers, and Penguins sitting in the three Metro division spots, meaning the Penguins are likely to face a fierce rival in the first round. [Pensburgh]

On Tuesday, the Penguins announced the signing of college free agent Drew O’Connor from Dartmouth. O’Connor was a highly touted prospect coming out of the Ivy League and the Penguins put in a big effort to get him signed. [Penguins]

This season has been a struggle for defenseman Justin Schultz, from injuries to poor play on the ice. Schultz broke through with a goal against the Devils and is hoping that propels him more consistent performances going forward. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Zach Aston-Reese was a full participant as practice on Wednesday with no contact restrictions for the first time since being injured. Aston-Reese is hoping to pick up where he left off and produce for the Penguins in the stretch run. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

For the most part, the Penguins controlled play and rolled to victory on Tuesday night against the Devils. Unlike their previous two victories, the team is hoping this victory turns into a stepping stone for continued success. [Trib Live]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Tough blow for the Colorado Avalanche as they chase the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central division. Leading scorer and Harty Trophy contender Nathan MacKinnon will miss 1-2 weeks with a lower body injury. [NHL]

At least through the end of March, the San Jose Sharks will play their home games in a closed arena. They are scheduled to play a trio of home contests between March 19-29, all of which will be closed to the public. [Sportsnet]