Pittsburgh Penguins: Looking Ahead to the January Schedule

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 31: Carter Rowney
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 31: Carter Rowney /

Happy New Year! After a wonderful (yet not quite long enough) break, everyone is going back at work. Pittsburgh Penguins included. Let’s take a look at what’s on the docket for January 2018.

After a pretty nasty opening to the season, which included four back-to-back games in October, the Pittsburgh Penguins have some breathing room in the upcoming month.

Handful of Division Games

Pittsburgh will run through three Metropolitan division matchups in January’s first week. Tonight it’s the Flyers, then onto the Hurricanes and Islanders on Jan. 4 and 5.

There are five total Metro division games in the month of January, and they are crucial if this team still has hope to make the postseason. They sit seventh in the division with 41 points, only one ahead of the cross-state rival Flyers.

Stealing two points against Metro division opponents is the only way to effectively move up the standings. Hopefully the Pittsburgh Penguins made some New Years Resolutions involving their even strength scoring and abundance of giveaways.

A Break and then Cali

The NHL mandates that each team have at least a five day break in the month of January. The Penguins will be off from Jan. 8- 12.

This break should prove to be a blessing for a tired Penguin team. They’ve played more games than anybody the last two years, and it’s showing. Pittsburgh is 3-7-0 in their last 10.

After the Pens get their Ross and Rachel on (get it?), it’s back to the grind. Four games in seven days including a western road trip. Ah good ol’ western road trips: 10 P.M. start times and players you’ve never heard of. This month it’s California themed, as Pittsburgh will play the Ducks, Kings and Sharks, all within four days.

Luckily the end of the month offers a comfy three game schedule over the course of 10 days.

Next: Penguins First Half Review: The Bad

In review, January offers a chance for the team to rest, but also to do some damage in the standings. 10 divisional points hang in the balance, and it should be regulation wins or bust. Not to alarm anyone, but by Jan. 2 last year, the Pens were second in the NHL with 55 points.

Hopefully they’ll be able to turn their luck around, but if not, look for GMJR to pull the trigger on something soon. His favorite month to do business has passed, but there is no way he’ll let this team go away quietly.