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Penguins Playoffs Update: Rivals Win; Pens Lose Control



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While the Pittsburgh Penguins had the day off Tuesday — and team captain Sidney Crosby was spotted taking in a Pittsburgh Pirates game — they could only watch how the teams surrounding them in the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup playoff race fared and maneuvered.

The lowdown: The Penguins (36-30-12, 84 points), who began the night one spot behind the second wildcard slot via tiebreaker, will wake up Wednesday morning just a little worse for wear and no longer in control of their playoff destiny.

The Washington Capitals leapfrogged them by beating the Detroit Red Wings 2-1, putting the Capitals into the second Stanley Cup playoff wildcard spot with 85 points, one ahead of the Penguins and Detroit. All three have played 78 games.

Meanwhile, The New York Rangers did not do the Penguins any favors, falling to the New York Islanders 4-2. That gave the Islanders, who hold down third place in the Metropolitan Division, a little bit more of a cushion. They are three points ahead of the Penguins.

The Philadelphia Flyers got chewed up by the Montreal Canadiens 9-3 to continue their wretched stretch drive and remain a point behind the Penguins.

The New Jersey Devils fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 to remain five points behind the Penguins.

The Buffalo Sabres were also five points behind the Penguins going into a later game at Dallas.

The Penguins picked up a point Monday at Toronto in a 3-2 overtime loss and are 6-0-3 in their past nine games. They have a huge home game Thursday against Detroit, one of their final four in the regular season. They close with a road game against the Islanders.

The standings as they pertain to the Penguins won’t change again until Thursday. The only two games on Wednesday’s slate involve Western Conference teams only.

Here are the standings before the Buffalo result: