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Good Night for Penguins; Playoff Dominoes Continue to Fall



Jake Guentzel

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t have a game Friday, but they still enjoyed one of their most productive and satisfying evenings in recent memory.

Three of the teams they are battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference — Philadelphia, Washington and Detroit — played, and all three were defeated.

That means the Penguins, who have won three games in a row, remain two points behind the Flyers and New York Islanders, who are tied for third place in the Metropolitan Division, as well as the second wild-card spot in the East.

The Penguins have a game-in-hand on the Flyers and have six games remaining, as do the other teams with which they are competing for a place in the postseason.

Friday night’s results have allowed the Penguins to regain control of their playoff fate, in part because they have an edge on the three Metro clubs with which they are competing. The Penguins would be guaranteed a place in the postseason if they win all of their remaining games — including the regular-season finale on Long Island April 17 — in regulation.

Former teammate Jake Guentzel played a prominent role in Carolina’s 4-2 victory, scoring the Hurricanes’ first and fourth goals, as they rallied from a 2-0 deficit.

The New York Rangers nudged past Detroit, 4-3, on Chris Krieder’s power-play goal midway through the third period.

Philadelphia fell in Buffalo, 4-2, as Sabres winger Jack Quinn scored a pair of goals.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to capitalize on those losses by the teams they are chasing when they face Tampa Bay Saturday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena.

If the Penguins defeat the Lightning and the Islanders or Flyers lose in regulation Saturday, the Penguins would move into the second wild-card spot in the East. If both of those teams would lose in regulation and the Penguins win, the Penguins would go into third place in the Metro.

The Penguins have a sizeable advantage on the first tiebreaker against all of the above teams. Regulation Wins (RW) is the first tiebreaker, and the Penguins currently have 30. With only six games remaining, New York has only 25, Detroit has 26, and Philadelphia and Washington have 28. The RW advantage means the probability is the Penguins need only tie the teams in front of them to earn a playoff berth.

The Penguins’ schedule includes head-to-head matchups against Detroit and New York, so as of Friday.