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Pens Points: Round One... FIGHT!

Casey DeSmith is nominated, some banged-up Penguins are rehabbing, and we finally know the Pens’ first-round opponent. All that and more in today’s Pens Points!

NHL: New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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

Let’s kick things off with the news you have been waiting for. With the Boston Bruins’ overtime victory against the New York Islanders last night, that means the Penguins will face off against the Isles in round one of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs:

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith is this year’s team nominee for the Masterton Trophy. [Pensburgh]

Speaking of DeSmith, what role did a former Navy SEAL play in helping get the New Hampshire native back to the NHL? [Post-Gazette]

Evgeni Malkin, Mike Matheson, and Tristan Jarry led the charge of injured Penguins players who resumed skating yesterday. [Trib Live]

The Penguins found themselves steadily improving over the course of this season. [Trib Live]

Winning the division for the first time since the 2013-14 season is an accomplishment these Penguins are certainly proud of. Throw in the never-ending list of injuries and an early-season GM change, and it’s amazing to see how far the team has come since early January. But they know their real test is only just beginning. [Penguins]

News and notes from around the NHL...

How about those Buffalo Sabres, folks? The players and fans endured another hellish year at the bottom of their division. Injuries and losing streaks surely dominated the Sabres Twitter-sphere and sports shows. Things are on the up-and-up, right? NOPE. The Sabres’ best player, Jack Eichel, publicly stated his frustrations over how his neck injury was handled between himself and the organization, further escalating the belief that the 24-year-old is on his way out of town. [ESPN]

Oh, and longtime Sabres defender, Rasmus Ristolainen, is ‘fine’ with being traded out of Buffalo, too. [TSN]

The Columbus Blue Jackets may be losing head coach John Tortorella, but one piece they are going to try their hardest to lock down for the long-term is defenseman Seth Jones. [NHL]

Ray Ferraro and Brian Boucher are set to join ESPN’s NHL coverage. [Awful Announcing]