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The playoff picture as of today

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Eight games in 18 days.  That's all that remains to the Pittsburgh Penguins' 2008 season.  Of course three more regulation wins can make all the difference between a season that ends in April and one that can last through June.

Three more points puts the Pens at 92, a point total that will at the least seal an eighth place finish.

As of yesterday morning the Penguins were fifth in the Eastern Conference, just two point behind the Flyers.  By the time midnight hit, the Pens dropped to sixth.

Just because Pittsburgh didn't have a game on the schedule yesterday doesn't mean the standings can't change.  Carolina, who just a day ago remained a point behind the Pens, took a jump into fifth place thanks to a 3-2 win over the Panthers.  Unfortunately this game ended in overtime, which also means Florida benefited from a point of their own.

Try as they may, the Devils' chances at catching up to Boston took a bit of a stumble last night.  New Jersey dropped their second straight game, this one a 4-2 loss to none other than the Flyers.  Giving two points to NJ wouldn't necessarily hurt Pitt's chances, but seeing Philly take a six-point lead in the standings is something no Pens fan wants to see. 

Before today is over we may likely see the Rangers in an 86-point tie with the Pens.  The Minnesota Wild will hopefully prevent that from happening.  If not, then it will come down to Pitt to prevent New York from advancing up the standings Saturday afternoon.

Oh and by the way, if the playoffs started today the Pens would take on the Capitals in the first round.  That's enough to make any NHL marketing director's head explode.

Here's a look at the standings:

 

Seed Team Pts Games remaining
1 Boston Bruins 102
9
2 New Jersey Devils 97 9
3 Washington Capitals 96 8
4

Philadelphia Flyers

90
10
5 Carolina Hurricanes
87 7
6 Pittsburgh Penguins
86 8
7 New York Rangers
84 9
8 Montreal Canadiens
81
10
9 Florida Panthers 81
9
10 Buffalo Sabres 76 10
11 Ottawa Senators
74 10
12 Toronto Maple Leafs
73
9
13 Atlanta Thrashers 66 9
14 Tampa Bay Lightning 62 10
15 New York Islanders 56 10