Now that we’re getting deep into Febraury, winter is about to break. I promise. Spring isn’t too far off, which means the standings and schedule are really important and coming into focus for the meaning of the 2018-19 season.
And for the Pittsburgh Penguins, they have a eight game stretch that started last night for the rest of February to really make a move.
Of these eight games:
- Four of the next seven are at home, where even though the Pens are 15-10-2 this year, traditionally this time of year they become pretty strong.
- The road games are pretty easy too, a quick flight to New Jersey and back. Then a trip across the state to Philly and back. No extended travel on the horizon and for almost the next week they get to be at home with three straight games at PPG.
- Five of the eight games are against teams outside of the playoffs. Pittsburgh hasn’t done the best against low-end competition, but now is the time to shine and make up some ground on the lesser teams
- Some specialties: two weekend matinees coming up this weekend, and the outdoor game in Philly next Saturday
- Only one back-to-back and both are at home
- A huge game with a big swing potential going to Columbus on Tuesday February 26th
Any game in the NHL could be a win or loss these days with parity and varying levels of effort and consistency, but this is a prime time for Pittsburgh to make a move up the rankings and at least solidify what is now a not that solid playoff foothold.
As you can see, the Islanders and Blue Jackets are on a three-game win streak, and the Capitals have won three of four. So Pittsburgh is going to have to keep it going to “hold serve” with the top teams in the division right now.
Sports Club Stats have the Pens at a 82.5% chance to make the playoffs now, so things are looking pretty good statistically but for a team that’s still lost eight of their last 12 games, they need to get on the right track.
Over the next seven games leading up to the big showdown with Columbus, the schedule is favorable for the Pens to do just that. Now it’s on them to go out and do it.