The Columbus Blue Jackets nearly squandered their playoff position but the bread was delivered, and the eight teams are set in the Eastern Conference. Against the New York Rangers with a win-and-in scenario, Columbus scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period but yielded a goal to Pavel Buchnevich with just six seconds remaining. Sergei Bobrovsky had to make a couple of acrobatic saves in overtime and the shootout, but Artemi Panarin delivered the game-winner. So the Pittsburgh Penguins playoffs scenarios are clear.
The Penguins must now earn a point against those same New York Rangers to solidify third place.
Penguins Can Finish Second IF:
–The Penguins beat New York in Regulation or overtime AND the New York Islanders lose in regulation at Washington.
Penguins Will Finish Third IF:
–They gain one point against the New York Rangers.
–The Carolina Hurricanes lose at Philadelphia.
Penguins Will Fall to the First Wild-Card IF:
–Carolina wins in Philadelphia AND the Penguins fail to gain a point against New York.
The Penguins currently have 99 points and 42 ROWs (Regulation and Overtime Wins). The New York Islanders have 101 points and 42 ROWs. The Carolina Hurricanes have 97 points but 44 ROWs.
ROWs are the first tiebreaker, so if Carolina catches the Penguins, they own the tiebreaker.
The Penguins have a better goal differential than New York, so if the Penguins catch the Islanders, the Penguins will win the tiebreaker. Goal differential is the third tiebreaker but the second tiebreaker is head-to-head and Penguins and Islanders each gained five points against the other this season.
If the Penguins finish second or third, they will face the New York Islanders in Round One. Second place gets home-ice advantage. If the Penguins fall to the wild-card, they will begin the playoffs in a marquee matchup of Stanley Cup champions against the Washington Capitals, in Washington.
WSH vs. CAR/PIT
NYI/PIT vs. NYI/PIT/CAR
TB vs. CBJ
BOS vs. TO