Who says hockey players aren’t sticklers for exact stats and details? More than once Tuesday after practice, the Penguins emphasized something about their season: They haven’t clinched a playoff spot yet.
“We don’t have that X next to our name yet,” defenseman Brian Dumoulin said, as an example.
OK. Point taken. No NHL team has secured a berth in the Stanley Cup marathon, otherwise known as the playoffs. The Penguins, at 84 points with 12 games remaining, would have to suffer a substantial collapse to miss the cut.
So, with that caveat, we set out to find out what the top priorities are over this last leg of the stretch run of the regular season. This is, after all, a veteran club in terms of navigating the waning weeks. The Penguins were scrambling for position at this time the past two seasons, then went on to win the Stanley Cup.