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Penguins' Conference Future Pending on Montreal

If the Pittsburgh Penguins hope to claim the Eastern Conference title, then they'll have a better idea by Saturday night.  The Montreal Canadiens, tied with Pitt for first with 102 points, will challenge their contention for the top in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Toronto, who just lost 8-2 to Ottawa Thursday night, may have just doubled their fan base.  Everyone in Pittsburgh is a Toronto fan for this game.

Here's why.

If Toronto beats Montreal in regulation, thus leaving them pointless on the night, then the Eastern Conference title is firmly in the hands of the Penguins.  Although both teams would still have 102 points on the season, Pittsburgh would edge out the title because they have more wins as a team.  Reminder, this game must end in regulation.  


It could end in an OT loss, whereby the Canadiens are exactly one point ahead of Pittsburgh.  The only difference in this situation is that Pittsburgh must gain at least a point in their meeting with Philadelphia on Sunday to take the title.

And of course, there's always the Montreal winning situation.  This would, of course, require Pittsburgh to beat Philly on Sunday to tie with Montreal and take the title.

So there you have it.  Toronto wins in regulation, Pittsburgh takes the title.  If Montreal gains a point, Pittsburgh must gain a point and, if Montreal wins, so too must the Penguins in their Sunday match-up against Philly.

Not to be completely pessimistic, but there's also the Montreal and Pittsburgh both lose scenario.  In which case Pittsburgh still wins the conference.