Thursday is another off day for the Penguins, as they rest up and prepare for the final five games of the 2018-19 season, beginning on Friday night with the Predators in town. It’s a well-deserved rest for a team who has not had consecutive days off in almost a month. When they return to action, they will look to wrap up a playoff spot for good as soon as possible.
Catch up on all the off day news with today’s Pens Points...
Now that the Penguins have comfortably moved into playoff position, we can start looking at who they may face in the first round. While a meeting with the Hurricanes, Capitals, and Lightning all remain open, it’s increasingly looking like the Pens are on track for a showdown with the New York Islanders. [Pensburgh]
If you were down on the Penguins Stanley Cup chances a few weeks ago no one will blame you. They looked like a team without any direction and on their way to potentially missing the playoffs. Since making some moves in February to shake up the roster, the Penguins have looked like a team on a mission and placed themselves back in the thick of the playoff race. [Pensburgh]
Once the playoffs conclude, the NHL offseason begins in earnest with the NHL Draft and free agency beginning shortly after. Unless moves are made before the draft, the Penguins will have a first round pick this year, and Cole Caulfield is a name to keep an eye on. [Pensburgh]
With Matt Murray getting the bulk of starts in goal recently, that has left Casey DeSmith with few opportunities for actual playing time. Even though he’s been relegated to the full-time backup role, DeSmith is doing the dirty work to stay sharp and prepared in case he is asked to step in. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
A strong March vaulted the Penguins into prime playoff position and eased some tensions around the city. There is still work to do to wrap up home ice in the first round and possibly even win the division, but the team can breathe a little easier knowing some of the pressure has subsided. [Trib Live]
To promote and support greater equality in hockey, the Pens Foundation will host “Her Hockey Night” on Sunday when the Penguins take on the Carolina Hurricanes. The occasion will be used to celebrate women in hockey and feature a special auction featuring items geared towards female fans. [Penguins]
News and notes from around the NHL...
Starting your journey as an NHL head coach is sure to have its ups and downs, but it’s a special case when you are taking over the defending Stanley Cup champions. That was the case for Capitals head coach Todd Reirden who battled through a roller coaster year to put the Caps back in position to repeat. [NBC Sports]
March Madness is kicking into full gear which means it is time for everyone on the internet to create a bracket contest of their own featuring some sort of theme. The fine folks over at ESPN ranked the past 16 Stanley Cup champions and placed them in a bracket for fans to vote. [ESPN]