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Pittsburgh Penguins playoff outlook: a collision course with the Islanders?

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It looks like the Pens and New York Islanders are on a path to meet in Round 1 of the 2019 NHL playoffs

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Last night the Penguins were inactive but it was a very meaningful day for the playoff race in the Metropolitan Division. Washington dropped Carolina 4-1, and Columbus beat NYI 4-0, leaving us with this standings picture as of 3/27;

I’ve got the Pens’ magic number right now as six; since Columbus can max out at 100 points.

Being neck and neck with the Islanders sure is interesting.

A refresher on the tiebreakers, straight from the NHL website:

If two or more clubs are tied in points during the regular season, the standing of the clubs is determined in the following order:

1. The fewer number of games played (i.e., superior points percentage).

2. The greater number of games won, excluding games won in the Shootout. This figure is reflected in the ROW column.

3. The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any “odd” games, shall be used to determine the standing.

4. The greater differential between goals for and against for the entire regular season. NOTE: In standings a victory in a shootout counts as one goal for, while a shootout loss counts as one goal against.

This is interesting to watch between the Penguins and Islanders since right now they have the same number of ROW and in the season series both teams earned five points against each other. If those two items are tied at the end of the year, it could go to tiebreaker number four, which right now Pittsburgh is looking good, +33 to +24. However, a couple wide results could change that!

As of now, the Capitals certainly are heavy favorites to win the division and take home ice advantage for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.

First round playoff opponent outlook, as of today:

The Athletic: Sees the Pens getting NYI (47%), Carolina (30%), Washington (10%) and Columbus (7%) as most likely as of today. Almost all of those matchups involve being in the 2v3 spot

Sports Club Stats: has NYI (45%), Carolina (26%), Washington (17%), Columbus (6%), Montreal (4%)

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More can and will change and shift with further results, both CAR/WSH and CBJ/MTL play again within the next two days, which could result in massive differences in how the playoff picture will look.

As of now it does sort of seem like Washington is working towards the division title with Pittsburgh and the Islanders settling into the 2v3 matchup and Carolina as the WC#1.