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It’s Decision Day for Penguins’ Playoff Hopes; Full Scenario

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Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL trade talk, Arizona Coyotes relocation

The Pittsburgh Penguins are still alive after 81 games. To a player, they have expressed some gratitude in context to how far they’ve come in a short time period and optimism that the hockey gods will accept their extraordinary run to end the season as proper tribute, thus granting their wish to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It’s a long shot, but it is possible after the Penguins beat the Nashville Predators Monday.

Here’s how it works:

The Penguins are still eligible for the second wild-card spot. They need two teams to lose: The Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings. It doesn’t matter if they lose in regulation, overtime, or a shootout.

Washington faces the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia Tuesday. If the Capitals win, they’re in, and Penguins are out. However, the Flyers could earn a postseason berth and end the Capitals season by beating them and praying for help.

Philadelphia has won two straight and has everything to play for, unlike the no-show Bruins, who dressed for their game against Washington on Monday but did little else.

Detroit staged a season-saving comeback against the Montreal Canadiens in Detroit Monday. Detroit trailed 4-1 in the third period but rallied to tie the game with just over one minute remaining, then won in overtime with less than 30 seconds remaining.

Detroit and Montreal face off again Tuesday, this time in Montreal.

Editor’s note: The original version stated the game was in Detroit.

Perhaps Penguins captain Sidney Crosby can cash in a favor from his childhood team, and they’ll get and hold the lead? Montreal is next to last in the Eastern Conference, so don’t hold your breath.

Then again, who thought the Penguins would lose to the lowly Chicago Blackhawks in Game 81 last season? The hockey gods sometimes work in mysterious ways.

If Detroit and Washington lose in regulation, the Penguins would need just a point to break the four-way tie by virtue of their wins in regulation (ROW) advantage. They have 32, and no other team with the above scenarios would have more than 31.

If Washington and Detroit lose via shootout or overtime, the Penguins would need to beat the Islanders to reach 90 points and a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The winner of this battle royal will receive a Round One date with the No. 1 seed New York Rangers.

According to MoneyPuck.com, the Penguins’ odds are 14.6%.

We’re guessing Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has a little Han Solo streak. Never tell him the odds.