I was a bit confused last night following the OT loss to the Rangers as to whether or not the Penguins are in fact winners of the Atlantic Division. I know that a win (and 2 points) would have officially secured this position, however evidence all over the Penguins' website suggests they are one point short.
Even the Trib-Review is saying it:
Actions speak louder than words, and the price paid by the Penguins for another slow start against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden was a wasted opportunity to clinch the Atlantic Division.
I don't doubt they're right - in fact I just wanted to make sure I wasn't losing my mind. So, I went to NHL.com/standings to see for myself, but apparently the NHL is so confident the Penguins will clinch the division that they've already noted them as the winner.
When you break it down into simple math, the Penguins have two games left. Technically speaking, the best they can do is four points and the worst they can do is 0. Even an OT loss and one point outcome out of the possible four would clinch the spot.
New Jersey has four games left and, unlike the Rangers with the same amount of points, can still technically catch the Penguins; or at least tie for the division lead. Best outcome for the Devils is eight points, putting them at 101. Not that hard considering they play the Islanders, Flyers and Bruins before ending the season with the Rangers.
Therefore, if the Penguins drop the next two (doubtful) and the Devils win the next four (even more doubtful) than the Devils win the division 101 to 100.
With three games left, the best the Rangers can do is finish with 99 points, only one point behind the Penguins' worst potential outcome.
Funny how the Penguins' worst is still just a little above the Rangers' best. In fact, New York's best outcome would officially claim the division for the Pens, as the Rangers end the season against the Devils.
I guess NHL.com has faith that the Pens will beat down the Flyers. And, as Pensburgh user Dayna has suggested, even maintain and lengthen the Conference lead over the Canadiens.
With that in mind - hats off to the Senators in their match-up tonight against the Canadiens.