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Pens Points: Hats Galore

Rodrigues and Rust record hat tricks as Penguins return from layoff with a victory over the Sharks. It may be a new year but nothing is changing about Pens Points which is here to deliver all the latest.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a lengthy layoff, no one could blame fans for wondering if the Pittsburgh Penguins were going to show signs of rust against the San Jose Sharks. Well, the only rust on the Penguins on Sunday was the one wearing No. 17 as the Penguins used hat tricks from Bryan Rust and Evan Rodrigues to down the Sharks 8-5 to open 2022 with a victory and notch their eighth straight win in the process. [Pensburgh]

New year, same Pens Points...

Prior to taking the ice against the Sharks, the Penguins got some much needed reinforcements from injured reserve. Both Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel were activated and played on Sunday afternoon in the WIN/LOSS. [Pensburgh]

Not counting the players currently in COVID protocols, the next big name to return to the lineup will be Evgeni Malkin. When #71 does return, he will be coming back from the longest injury layoff of his professional career. [Pensburgh]

Players from up and down the Penguins organization posted big performances in the month of September. Captain Sidney Crosby led the way at the NHL-level while some big name prospects put together great months of their own at lower levels. [Pensburgh]

As the Penguins begin play in the new year, there are some personal milestones within reach for a handful of depth players on the roster. Evan Rodrigues is already having a career season as we know, but a few others are following close behind. [Pensburgh]

Another depth player to keep an eye on in the new year is Drew O’Conner. As a rookie, any numbers he posts will be a career high, but he’s hoping the new year provides a launching pad her ever greater success and a more permanent role. [Trib Live]

Tristan Jarry remains in COVID protocols and is out of the lineup for an undetermined amount of time. That means Casey DeSmith will take over the reigns in goal, something he is more than prepared for. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

News and notes from around the NHL...

In one of the best hockey stories you will ever hear, a Seattle Kraken fan and an equipment manager for the Vancouver Canucks met after the former alerted the Canucks staffer to a cancerous mole on his neck earlier this season and saved his life. [NHL]

Even though the NHL did take an early Christmas pause to help slow down the spread of COVID, the virus is still making its presence known. While Marc-Andre Fleury has been released from protocol, Artemi Panarin has been added. [ESPN]