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Penguins Playoffs Stage Set; Everything You Need to Know

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It has become an old-school battle royal for the last two Eastern Conference playoff spots. Third place in the Metro Division and the second wild card are still up for grabs as all teams in realistic contention, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, hit the ice Monday night.

The Penguins’ playoff hopes were dunked in an ice bucket of cold water Saturday when they lost to the Boston Bruins, 6-4. The Penguins controlled their fate before the game and exited needing help.

The Penguins trail the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings by one point for the wild card, and they trail the New York Islanders by four points for third place.

The Penguins also trail the Philadelphia Flyers by one point, but Philadelphia has one game remaining–Tuesday vs. Washington. Should the other teams lose a game, Philadelphia has a chance, but it would take one regulation loss by Detroit, Washington, and the Penguins.

Philadelphia can only get to 89 points. The Penguins can only reach 90, while Washington and Detroit can get to 91.

Playoff Tiebreakers

The first tiebreaker is Regulation Wins.

Washington will own the first tiebreaker against Detroit if both win out.

The good news for the Penguins is they will likely own the tiebreaker against all teams, so they don’t necessarily need to pass any of the above. They need simply to tie them. The Penguins will need one more regulation win to ensure that.

The Penguins have 31 regulation wins, Washington and Philadelphia have 30, and the Islanders and Detroit have 27.

The second tiebreaker is ROW (Regulation and Overtime Wins). Should the Penguins not win either of their last two games in regulation but still tie for the wild card (it’s possible), they are still in good shape. They have 35 ROWs, while Washington and Philadelphia have 34.

Penguins Schedule

The Penguins host the Nashville Predators on Monday, then visit the New York Islanders on Wednesday. If the Islanders stumble and the Penguins win, Game No. 82 will be for the marbles.

Washington will face a bit of a gauntlet to the end. They host Boston on Monday and then visit Philadelphia the following night. Back-to-back games are never easy, and the Flyers will need to win to keep their hopes alive.

Yeah, expect an all-out battle Tuesday night in Philadelphia. Blood will be shed.

Detroit has, on paper, a cakewalk to the end. They have a home-and-home against the “lowly” Montreal Canadiens on Monday and Tuesday. Montreal is next to last in the Eastern Conference, but there is plenty of hope for the Penguins. Montreal and Detroit split their first two meetings, Montreal winning one in regulation and losing the other in OT.

The Canadiens are 1-0-2 in their last three games, so they aren’t going quietly.

New York visits the New Jersey Devils on Monday and hosts the Penguins on Wednesday at the faraway, remote, impossible-to-get-to UBS Arena. New Jersey is 1-1 in its last two games, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-5 and then losing to Philadelphia 1-0.

If Penguins fans have ever rooted for a John Marino hat trick, eh?

According to MoneyPuck.com, the Penguins playoff odds are 23.7%. Washington and Detroit are at 29% and 33%, respectively.

Six months comes down to two games. The doom and gloom from Saturday night no longer matters. The Penguins have a little goalie situation, but Washington has been riding Charlie Lindgren while Detroit pins their hopes on Alex Lyon.

If the Islanders gain a point on Monday, the Penguins cannot catch them for third. If Washington or Detroit win and the Penguins lose in regulation on Monday, it’s over for Sidney Crosby and crew.

Strap in. Here we go.

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