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Pens Points: Deciding The Division?

Evgeni Malkin has had a full contact practice, the Penguins are going to the government, and Freddy Gaudreau looks to have earned his spot. All that and more in today’s Pens Points!

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Here are your Pens Points for this Thursday morning...

Evgeni Malkin returned to Penguins practice yesterday participating in a full contact capacity, meaning his return to game action is very, very close. [Post-Gazette]

With Malkin nearing a return, perhaps as soon as this evening against the Capitals, what does history have to say for how well Malkin will perform when he does hit the ice again? [Pensburgh]

And will Malkin retake his place on the team’s top power-play unit? That part is unclear, at least for now. [Trib Live]

The Penguins have petitioned the Pennsylvania state government and the commonwealth’s Department of Health in regards to proposed “vaccinated” and “non-vaccinated” sections at home games, allowing for more tickets to be sold. [Trib Live]

Does the currently-injured Frederick Gaudreau have his spot in the lineup locked when he returns from the rehab process? It sure looks that way. [Trib Live]

These next two games against the Washington Capitals will have much more at stake than just the division crown. [Post-Gazette]

With both Turner Sports and ESPN sticking their toes into the NHL waters, the time is now for the networks to find hockey’s equivalent of Charles Barkley. [Trib Live]

News and notes from around the NHL...

Here are five questions that still remain unanswered following Turner Sports’ acquisition of the NHL’s rights package. [Awful Announcing]

Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin has been placed on long-term injured reserve for personal reasons, the team announced yesterday. [Eyes On The Prize]