The Pittsburgh Penguins magic number is down to four (edit) but the teams behind them keep winning, and the teams ahead of them keep winning, too. Thursday night, the Washington Capitals prevented the final Storm Surge of the year by beating the Carolina Hurricanes and the Columbus Blue Jackets continued their rally by beating Montreal and claiming the final wild-card position.
And the New York Islanders beat Winnipeg, just for good measure and a two-point lead on the Penguins for second place. The Penguins have a game in hand.
Columbus didn’t just win Thursday night, they hung a six-spot on Montreal. Columbus has won three in a row. Three takeaways from the BIG CBJ win (1st Ohio Battery)
The Blue Jackets and Montreal are tied for the final playoff spot, but Columbus currently has the ROW tiebreaker. It might not be the worst thing in the world if Columbus gets the final playoff spot. If Sergei Bobrovsky can stop pucks, they have a chance to defeat Tampa Bay of any of the wild-card hopefuls.
The Washington Capitals kept winning, too. They beat Carolina, again, and clinched a playoff spot in the process (WaPo)
Carolina performed their final Storm Surge anyway. Sporting News looked at the best ones (Sporting News)
Good Riddance. It was awesome when they rode around on sticks or goofed around. Then they began including props, the scoreboard, and anything else they could imagine… They jumped the shark a while ago. SELL HOCKEY TO YOUR MARKET NOT A CARROT TOP SHOW! The show will end…the hockey will still be there. Make sure the fans come back for hockey, not the postgame festivities.
The New York Islanders are proving quite pesky, which seems appropriate. The Penguins should dispatch the Isles if it comes to a Round One matchup, but Isles won’t go quietly. They beat Winnipeg Thursday night (Newsday)
Matt Cullen is the Penguins nominee for the Masterton Award for perseverance and dedication (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Islanders goalie Robin Lehner should win the award. For all of the talk about mental health, Lehner has overcome those issue and substance abuse to finally begin reaching his potential. He is the Islanders nominee (New York Post)
Editors Note: We made a math error in the original headline. The magic number is four, not six because Montreal’s max points are 98 and the Penguins have 95 points.