However, is the Pens playoff fortunes already known? As of today, according to Sports Club Stats, a site that daily tracks and weighs playoff probabilities and odds, the future is very much looking like we could be in for a Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia Flyers 4/5 seed matchup in the first round of the playoffs.
The site currently gives the Pens a 13% chance of over-taking the Rangers for the division and conference lead, a number that will certainly be drastically different after the Pens could be within two points or as far back as 6, after the game in Manhattan on Thursday night. If Pittsbugh can win (especially in regulation) it'll be a huge boon. If they can't, it's about curtains for their hopes of a top seed, as NYR will be several points up with just a handful of games left.
In the event the Pens can't catch the Blueshirts, Sports Club sees and 80% chance Pittsburgh ends up as either the 4th or 5th seed, and a 71% chance that their cross-state rivals end up in the other one. You don't have to do the math to see a collision course is coming.
Just imagine Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot on Pittsburgh ice for a playoff series. Or the potential return of Sidney Crosby in the place where they love him most in Philly. It's a match made in heaven, and if the Pens don't win on Thursday, it's a matchup we are very, very likely to see happen.