The Eastern Conference playoff picture is coming into focus. The Penguins are 6-2-2 in their last 10 which has provided the much-needed separation from the playoff fringe. The Penguins now have third place in the Metro Division and a four-point lead over Columbus and Montreal with just 12 games remaining.
Wednesday, PHN’s Shelly Anderson looked at the Penguins remaining strength of schedule. The Penguins have a difficult road (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
The Penguins trail the New York Islanders by just two points for second place and the home-ice advantage in the potential playoff series. Yesterday, Islanders goalie Robin Lehner returned from a concussion suffered after Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk ran him over. Lehner took a shot at Tkachuk and the NHL (NY Post)
The Post story has a great lede, “Robin Lehner has channeled his inner Billy Smith.” Too few big papers use real hockey writers. That’s a good example of why more should.
The Islanders are also asking for their fans help to push their new Belmont arena project forward. Here are the story and the link to the Change.org petition. I think Pens fans should be all over this for them–show them how it’s done (Newsday)
The poor Islanders.
The Montreal Canadiens trail the Penguins by four points. Their big time backstop Carey Price just became the winningest Canadiens goalie ever when he passed Jacques Plante, and the team had some fun with him (Montreal Gazette)
The Columbus Blue Jackets are four back of the Penguins, too. Their offense finally came alive in a 7-4 win over Boston. They’ll need a lot more of that (Columbus Dispatch)
Platoon goalies and platoons with mediocre goalies especially don’t work. But Carolina is doing it with Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney (Canes Country)
And always make sure the lid is on tight… Just ask New Jersey Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood. Watch (NHL.com)
If Rick Tocchet gets Arizona into the Western Conference playoffs, he and Barry Trotz should walk up on stage and just take the Jack Adams award. Arizona is in a playoff spot despite numerous and extraordinary injuries (ESPN)