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It was an NHL-mandated break. It was Christmas Patrick Maroon Jersey Womens , for goodness sakes, and the Pittsburgh Penguins got an extra day with no game Sunday, giving them four full off days.While none of the Penguins were complaining about the down time, they will need to ensure that it does not serve as a momentum-killer.Pittsburgh (18-12-6) enters Thursday’s home game against the Detroit Red Wings (15-17-6) on an 8-2-1 roll.Article continues below ...“I think there’s significance to winning a few in a row here, but also gaining points along the way in a lot of games,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said in the wake of a 3-0 victory Saturday at Carolina, the Penguins’ third straight win.“As I told the guys in the (locker) room, our guys deserve a lot of credit for how hard they’ve played and how focused they’ve been through this stretch. They’ve played a lot of hockey in a short stretch, and they continued to play hard night in and night out.”Pittsburgh’s recent stretch has boosted it into third place in the Metropolitan Division — back in a playoff spot — after the team fell to the depths of the Eastern Conference during a dismal November.“These past three games we’ve played were pretty tight hockey games. You could tell our mentality was right where it needs to be Tyler Bozak Jersey Womens ,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who has led the charge with 10 goals and 17 assists over the past 20 games.“We can build off this when we get back.”The Penguins also have also gotten their best stretch of goaltending lately, although questions remain about how they will deploy Matt Murray, who has won two Stanley Cups, and Casey DeSmith. The two have been used in a straight-up rotation recently, with Murray turning in a 39-save shutout against Carolina.While the Penguins have had a December to remember, the Red Wings are hoping to ditch a malaise after the holidays.Detroit gave Toronto a strong game Sunday, losing 5-4 in overtime, but that can’t hide a 4-6-3 record in December that has dropped the Red Wings to 12th in the Eastern Conference.“We feel that when we’re on our game Chad Johnson Jersey Womens , we can play with anybody. We’ve shown that over the course of the year,” Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said, most likely referring to an 8-4-1 record in November.“But you have to do it every night, not just when you play some teams. The level of urgency and compete have to be there every night.”The Red Wings and Penguins had a nice little rivalry going in the late 2000s, splitting two meetings in the Stanley Cup final and staging some high-intensity regular-season games.It would help if Detroit can capture that level against Pittsburgh, as with the game at Toronto.“Sometimes it’s a good reminder of the type of game it takes to be successful,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “That was a great reminder. We are going on the road … and play a couple of real good teams (in Pittsburgh and Dallas). We are going to have to play this same style.” COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella chose not to start No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in the season opener, but he’ll be back in his familiar position between the pipes for the home opener against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night at Nationwide Arena.Tortorella’s decision to start backup Joonas Korpisalo against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night raised some eyebrows Brian Flynn Jersey Womens , not necessarily that Bobrovsky was out of the lineup but because he’s in the final year of his contract and questions have swirled about his future with the team, even though Tortorella is already tired of hearing them.“Korpi deserves an opportunity,” Tortorella said before the opener. “He had a pretty good camp.”Article continues below ...That carried over into the first game. Korpisalo made 18 saves and Artemi Panarin’s goal in overtime gave the Blue Jackets a 3-2 victory, their seventh straight win over the Red Wings.Bobrovsky wasn’t all that sharp in exhibition games, but the regular season is what counts and the veteran know what it takes to prepare for the long haul of an 82-game marathon.So do his teammates. Back-to-back games might not be the ideal situation to start a season, but Blue Jackets players didn’t seem to mind, especially after winning on the road.“There’s no point in being tired because it’s the first games of the season so you’re still in your best shape,” center Alexander Wennberg said. “You’ve got to make the best of it.”Winger Cam Atkinson scored a first-period goal and Josh Anderson added one in the second period for the aggressive Blue Jackets, who outshot the Red Wings 39-20.Atkinson became the 11th player in NHL history with a goal in at least five straight season openers. He welcomes the quick turnaround.“I like the fact we get on the road before the home opener Christian Folin Jersey Womens ,” Atkinson said, according to the team’s website. “I like playing in back-to-back games. Your adrenaline is still there. It’s kind of relaxed. The building is going to be buzzing here.”The Blue Jackets face a team that’s also on the back end of two games in two nights, but the difference for the Hurricanes is they’re playing the second game on the road after a loss. Carolina stumbled out of the gate, falling 2-1 in overtime to the New York Islanders.Carolina rallied to tie with 1:35 left in the third period on a goal by Jordan Staal, but New York’s Josh Bailey responded 43 seconds into overtime to give Barry Trotz a win in his Islanders coaching debut.“We’re planning on playing a lot more than 82 games this year,” Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. “This was just one. One that didn’t go our way.”The Hurricanes and Blue Jackets are dealing with the loss of several key players at the start of the season.Carolina placed goaltender Scott Darling (lower body) on injured reserve this week and signed former Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney to back up Petr Mrazek, who was signed July 1 and made his Carolina debut with 18 saves after six seasons with the Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers.“It’s a setback, no doubt, but that’s why we got Petr in here David Perron Jersey Womens ,” said Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, making his Carolina debut along with 2018 No. 2 overall draft pick Andrei Svechnikov (three shots on goal against the Islanders).Carolina also is without center Victor Rask for at least four weeks after he underwent surgery on the fourth and fifth fingers of his right hand. He was placed on the injured non-roster list.The Blue Jackets are missing all-star defenseman Seth Jones for at least the first month of the season and fellow blue-liner Scott Harrington. Jones suffered a knee injury in an exhibition game that forced Tortorella to shuffle his back-end pairings.But he was pleased that defenseman Ryan Murray recovered from a preseason injury to contribute to the opening victory.“Really good news that he’s back,” Tortorella said. “We weren’t expecting it. We’ll see where it goes.”