And the countdown should begin for the Pittsburgh Penguins to claim a playoff spot. What was in legitimate doubt one month ago is now a near certainty. The Penguins 2-1 SO win over Nashville Thursday night had Carolina fans groaning and the top of the Metro Division looking over their shoulder.
The Penguins magic number is 10 because Columbus could theoretically get to 100 points. Any combination of the Penguins earning 10 points or Columbus losing points, puts the Penguins into the playoffs.
Check out the Penguins PHN Extra analysis and player report card (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Despite the blown leads–a term Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan spanked sports writers for using Thursday night because it’s only one goal–the Penguins are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. At 91 points, the Penguins are tied with the New York Islanders for second in the Metro and three points behind the Washington Capitals for the division lead.
The Carolina Hurricanes were not as lucky, Thursday night. Carolina squandered a third period lead and lost to Tampa Bay 5-3. The Carolina locker room was sour afterward.
Justin Williams: “We pissed it away. We pissed it away and it’s unacceptable.”
— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) March 22, 2019
The Montreal Canadiens were much better, Thursday night and as a result, it’s Montreal with the lead in the Tampa Bay sacrificial lamb derby to be the second wild card. Montreal shutout the Islanders 4-0 (Montreal Gazette).
Poor Columbus. They went for it. All-in. Chips on the table. And now they are one point behind Montreal for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Columbus lost to Edmonton, 4-1.
At least two #CBJ players said the team appeared panicked, unable to let loose and just play. When presented with that, Tortorella said:
“I wish there was panic in the game, ‘cause then it would show some desperation. I don’t agree with that.”
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 22, 2019
At least Columbus could have a high first round pick in a deep draft. Oh, wait…
CBJ has 84 points. And injuries are mounting (Columbus Dispatch)
Philadelphia is still alive, barely. They trail Montreal by five points with eight games remaining. They dealt Chicago a bitter pill, Thursday night 3-1. Carter Hart was again very, very good (NBC Sports)
Teams with a negative -19 goal differential, like the Flyers, shouldn’t make the playoffs but they have a chance.
Our favorite Western Conference team, the Arizona Coyotes are fighting for their playoff lives. They lost, Thursday night and are now tied with Colorado and one point ahead of Minnesota (NHL.com)