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Penguins Down to 42% Chance; Here’s Best Chances & Schedules



Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders

The Pittsburgh Penguins waited too long. They gave away too many opportunities, too many leads, and too many points. Now, they do not control how their 2022-23 season ends. Even if they win their remaining three games, they are not assured of a playoff spot.

In fact, winning their final three games is only the start of what they need.

It’s a race to the finish line, but the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers control the situation. If each wins their final three games, they will be the Eastern Conference wild cards, and the Penguins, for the first time since 2006, would not make the NHL playoffs.

One Penguins loss would mean one of those teams must lose twice in regulation, which is not very likely.

Remember 2006? The boy bands were still famous. Donald Trump was a reality TV star famous for being a rich guy in the 1980s who kept marrying and divorcing blond women. And Sidney Crosby was a chubby-faced teenager.

Trump is still famous for surreal television, and blondes are still a problem, but Crosby is 35 and has lifted three Stanley Cups, the organization is no longer owned by Mario Lemieux but by the Red Sox owners, and a former hated rival is now the GM.

According to MoneyPuck, the Penguins have just a 42% chance. The Islanders are at 81%, and Florida is at 76%.

Of course, the Penguins were at 81% a week ago until they ran into that buzzsaw known as the Detroit Red Wings.

Best Chances for a Loss

The Penguins need one or both Florida and the Islanders to lose while winning their remaining games. A four-game winning streak would be the Penguins’ best stretch since winning four straight from Feb. 25 – March 7. Before that, they won seven in a row from Dec. 1-15.

Florida’s final three games are Washington, Toronto, and Carolina.

The common opponent between the Islanders and Florida is the Washington Capitals. However, Washington has lost five straight (0-4-1) and eight of their last nine games.

They’re physically and spiritually decimated, but they can’t lose 13 of their last 14 games, right?

Toronto has alternated wins over their last 10 games, going 5-3-2.

The battle atop the Metro Division between the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils seems to be the Penguins’ best chance to gain ground on either team. Florida will host Carolina in the final game of the regular season. It could decide the Division winner because Carolina leads New Jersey by just one point.

Carolina has won three of their last four games and is 3-2-0 in their last five.

Over their last 15 games, Florida’s final opponents are a combined 5-8-2.


The Islanders should roll through their remaining schedule.

They face Washington, the Flyers, and then finish their season against the Montreal Canadiens, who beat Washington 6-2 Thursday.

“(Montreal) had a good game against the Capitals. However, it was also one of the worst outings of the season for Alex Ovechkin’s team,” our colleague Marc Dumont of Montreal Hockey Now said.

Montreal has lost four of five, and despite a spunky March, they are fading quickly.

The Flyers are also fading fast. They have lost five in a row (0-4-1).

So, the Islanders face teams that are a combined 1-12-2 in their last 15 games.

Penguins Schedule 

Like the Islanders, the Penguins should clean up in their final three games. Detroit, Chicago, and Columbus are out of the playoffs and gliding toward a long summer.

Of course, Detroit hung a seven spot on the Penguins last week in a 7-4 win.

Detroit is playing well down the stretch. They’ve won three of five (3-1-1), and those three wins were over the Penguins, Toronto, and Carolina.

Thursday, Detroit put on a show in a 7-6 OT loss to the Buffalo Sabres in front of over 19,000 fans at Little Caesars Arena. The fans are still showing up, and Detroit is still playing as if it matters.

Chicago has one win in their last 10 games, but that was a potentially mortal blow to the Calgary Flames Tuesday.

Columbus has one win in their last seven and is 1-3-1 in their last five.

So, the Penguins’ final opponents are 5-8-2.

Perhaps Alex Ovechkin will rip a power play goal that doesn’t hurt the Penguins, or Toronto will have one of their alternating good games, or Carolina needs the win and brings their best against Florida.

Detroit awaits, and the Pittsburgh Penguins need to win all three.